A London firefighter was hurt battling a massive fire that destroyed a storage warehouse at Hully Gully, a large marine and powersports equipment dealer.

The blaze broke out after 4am Thursday inside a rear storage warehouse behind the main building at Wharncliffe Rd. and Wonderland Rd. Flames were seen shooting 30 metres into the air and little explosions could be heard. More than 20 firefighters were on scene and two aerial trucks were used to contain the fire.

“When fire crews arrived the warehouse was fully involved. There was a lot of product stored in the building, it is a total loss,” said District Fire Chief Shawn Fitzgerald.

One firefighter was taken to hospital with undisclosed injuries, while a guard dog that was in a kennel on the property when the fire broke out was rescued by firefighters.

The storage unit housed a variety of motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, Ski-Doos, and half a dozen customer boats, as well as the facility’s snow removal equipment and a forklift. The structure collapsed on itself, creating hotspots that required a backhoe to be brought in to shift the crumpled metal so fire crews could get to them. The frigid temperatures also hindered efforts to douse the flames.

“The cold becomes a big problem with equipment icing up,” said Fitzgerald. “We had a water tower freeze up on us, the valves froze in the truck from the cold. We have trucks sitting in water. Engine one was in about a foot and a half of water, which raises concerns about it getting frozen in where it is located. It’s part of firefighting in cold weather.”

Hully Gully owner Randy Collins learned of the fire from security staff who, along with nearby London Transit employees, called emergency crews.

“We are so thankful that the London Fire Department was able to be here and contain the fire to the one building, with no damage at all to our main store,” said Collins.

He estimates damage from the fire will be close to $2-million.

“Our whole family and team is pretty shaken up by it. We are all thankful it is no worse than it is and we’re glad that we can still be open,” said Collins. “We are really pleased by the best wishes that have been sent to us through social media and other means by so many of our friends and customers. It shows you what you are made of when you run into stuff like this.”

Despite the blaze, Collins said the main store will be open until 6pm Thursday and from 9am to 6pm Friday.

The Ontario Fire Marshal and a fire investigator with the London Fire Department are investigating the cause of the fire.

Source: BlackburnNews.com – Firefighter Hurt Battling Hully Gully Blaze