Fire destroyed most of the aviation training program at the First Nations Training Institute near Belleville, Ontario Thursday causing tens of millions of dollars in damage and putting the flight training of dozens of students in limbo. There were no injuries in the massive blaze, which took out the main hangar of the school housing all its aircraft and all the tools and facilities for its maintenance facility. “All staff and students were successfully evacuated from the premises and no injuries were reported at this time. Students who are living on site have been evacuated to offsite premises and are safe,” the school said in a statement.
The fire ripped through a Second World War hangar used by the school and firefighters had little chance to contain it. “All heavy timber, there was no saving it at that point,” said Belleville Fire Department Chief Scott Maracle. “According to F.N.T.I (First Nations Technical Institute) personnel, there were 13 planes inside, 5 of them brand new. $2 million worth of brand new planes and all the other ones.”