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OFM releases Orillia fire scene

Feb.4, 2009, Toronto - The Office of the Fire Marshal released the fire scene at the Muskoka Heights Retirement residence located at 327 Old Muskoka Road in Orillia yesterday. This marks the beginning of the second phase in this investigation; the examination of results found at the scene and an analysis of all factors that may have impacted the fire.

February 4, 2009
By Office of the Fire Marshal

OFM engineers will analyze and test exhibits that were
seized from the fire scene. Meanwhile, other OFM investigators will interview those
involved in the fire and and review all fire prevention records. A priority of
the OFM is to prevent another fire like this.

This fire occurred Jan. 19 and claimed two lives.
Eight people remain in area hospitals, five of whom are in critical condition.
The facility was home to 23 residents.

Over the course of the two-week investigation,
investigators were faced with harsh temperatures and numerous safety issues. To
address concerns about structural collapse within the residence, heavy
equipment was brought in to assist investigators. As a precautionary measure to
protect against toxins and possible asbestos within the fire scene,
investigators wore disposable TYVEK suits, hand and headgear and positive
pressure ventilation systems.

Throughout the investigation, the OFM worked
closely with Orillia OPP, regional coroner Dirk Huyer, Orillia Fire Department
and other departments. The OFM thanks area resident for their patience, co-operation
and assistance throughout the investigation.

"The OFM will take a comprehensive and
thorough approach in all aspects of this investigation," said Ontario Fire
Marshal Pat Burke. "This will take considerable time and resources,
however, we will be working quickly to analyze what we have learned from this
fire so that timely recommendations can be developed to improve public
safety."