Fire at London home construction site probed as builder scrambles for buyers

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The Ontario Fire Marshal is investigating a massive overnight fire that levelled two under-construction homes in northwest London and damaged two others — a loss the builder estimates to be at least half a million dollars.

Seven London fire crews from six stations responded to the blaze on Lawson Road near Sandbar Street at about 1:30 a.m. Friday, said Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Jack Burt. No people, including firefighters, were injured.

“It made for a busy night for us,” said Burt.

“At this point it’s very early in the investigation,” he added.

London fire department crews and an investigator from the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal were expected to be at the scene until sundown Friday, said Burt, with the investigation resuming Saturday morning.

“We’re still working through the scene to determine the origin, cause and circumstances of the fire,” said Burt.

The provincial agency investigates all fatal fires and ones that are suspicious, explosive-related, linked to drug activity or have a damage estimate of more than $500,000.

“Any time we have a fire with a dollar loss like this one . . . we have reporting requirements to the OFM, so we want to make sure that we report to them and ask for their assistance,” said Burt.

Excavation equipment was brought to the scene Friday afternoon, since one of the homes collapsed into the basement.

Val Bolieiro, president of Highview Homes, which was building the houses, said both destroyed buildings had tight completion deadlines. He’s now trying to work with the homeowners to find a solution.

“My biggest concern is the homeowners that have closing dates which they have to move in,” he said.

“It’s a matter of time before we get back up and running.”

Though the investigation is ongoing, Bolieiro believes the fire was deliberately set and estimates the damage is at least a half million dollars. Bolieiro said he’s spotted burnt out candles in the area before and has seen attempts to light fires at his sites.

Though the fires are a major setback, Bolieiro is trying to take it in stride.

“You’ve just got to deal with it and try to make the best of it and try to get things back on track,” he said.

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