Three firefighters injured in greenhouse fire

A massive fire is burning at a greenhouse operation in Dunnville, Ont. (David Ritchie/Special to...

A massive fire is burning at a greenhouse operation in Dunnville, Ont. (David Ritchie/Special to QMI Agency)

Maryanne Firth, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:31 PM ET

DUNNVILLE, Ont. — Three firefighters have been taken to hospital after collapsing while trying to extinguish a massive blaze at an Ontario greenhouse early Thursday.

Officials said the fire could result in losses in excess of $10 million.

Firefighters were called to Rosa Flora Ltd., in Dunnville, at 1 a.m. Thursday.

The fire destroyed the company’s offices and greenhouse, and a warehouse on the site was still burning as of Thursday morning

Rosa Flora, a family-run operation that started in 1978, is the largest gerbera grower in North America. It operates in 1.6 million-square-feet of growing space and employs between 150 and 200 people.

David Ritchie, a freelance photographer on the scene, said three firefighters had to be rushed to hospital after part of the greenhouse collapsed.

Ontario Provincial Police Const. Mark Foster confirmed the firefighters are in stable condition. No other injuries were reported.

Firefighters are still searching for hot spots on the property.


Rosa Flora Ltd. in Dunnville, Ont., was destroyed by a massive fire early Thursday morning. (David Ritchie/Special to QMI Agency)

Click here to see photos of the blaze

The Ontario Ministry of Environment is on scene, and the Office of the Fire Marshal has been called in.

Officials said the damage could exceed $10 million.

Nearby homes, occupied by Rosa Flora employees, have been evacuated, Foster said.

Rose Flora managers are meeting to “develop a game plan as to how they will look after this devastation,” Foster said.

Greenhouse co-owner Ralph DeBoer, who lives on site, called the blaze “devastating” and said he has “no idea” how the fire started.

DeBoer estimated about 15 of 40 acres of property were destroyed, roughly 30% of the company's production.

“We have to assess the damage and decide how to move forward,” he said.


Videos

Photos