Two fires in two days at former Goodyear plant in Bowmanville has Chief calling for 24/7 security

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Published May 19, 2023 at 10:42 am

Photo You Tube, courtesy Drozwik Drones

Two fires just 42 hours apart – one determined to be deliberately set – at the former Goodyear tire plant in Bowmanville has the Clarington Fire Department on alert, with Fire Chief David Speed warning the owners of the vacant building to ensure there is round-the-clock security to prevent further acts of vandalism and arson.

Six trucks responded to a fire set on Saturday March 13 at 10:45 p.m., with fire crews finding a contents fire on the third floor. No one was found inside the building and no injuries were reported but a spokesman for the department said the blaze appears to be “intentionally set.”

There is no damage estimate at this time.

Less than two days later, at 6:15 p.m. Monday evening, fire crews were back at the building, abandoned since the tire plant closed in 2016, for another fire – this time in the office area.

The fire was extinguished quickly, all hot spots were confirmed cool and everything was under control within an hour, a statement from the fire department declared. One youth inside the building was taken to Lakeridge Health Bowmanville and treated for smoke inhalation.

The former Goodyear/ContiTech Continental site is slated for development and there is a mixed-use proposal called Goodyear Village on the books from Karmina Developments of Pickering, who promised on their website they have “stepped forward to redevelop the derelict industrial buildings into a master-planned community.”

 

Proposed Goodyear Village development at the former Goodyear Tire plant in Bowmanville

Clarington Fire Chief Speed, however, just wants some master-planned security at the site, located on Raynes Avenue, just south of downtown Bowmanville.

“Clarington Emergency and Fire Service has issued an Order to the owner to have the building permanently secured and to have 24/7 security in place to prevent unauthorized entry,” he said.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber, which was founded in Akron, Ohio in 1898, expanded to Bowmanville in 1910 when the company bought the existing Durham Rubber Company and employed as many as 2,200 workers during its peak during the Second World War.

A series of layoffs in subsequent years reduced the workforce to about 100 by the time the plant hit the century mark and slowdowns in the mining, coal and tar sands sector – the major markets for the conveyor belts made at the time in Bowmanville – contributed to the closure of the plant (now operated by ContiTech Continental) in 2016.

The 36.8 acre site was listed for sale in 2018 for $19.8 million.

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