OTD: Three-alarm fire at Ottawa’s Canadian Bank Note Company

On today’s date in 2016, a large printing press caught fire at the Canadian Bank Note Company (CBNC) in Ottawa and caused about $6 million in damages.

In the early morning hours of June 25, 2016, a hazardous materials team responded to a call on Richmond Road in Ottawa following reports of black smoke coming from the second-floor windows of the CBNC. The fire is believed to have begun around 2:40 a.m. before spreading with the help of nearby chemicals.

Firefighters battled thick dark smoke – so much they were forced to go through a decontamination process following the incident – but they were able to put out the fire without any injuries, CBC News reported.

One of the security printing industry’s major players, the CBNC was established in 1897 as a branch of the American Bank Note Company (now known as ABCorp). Throughout its 122-year history, the CBNC has supplied more than 30 countries with paper, composite and polymer banknotes.

Six years ago, it secured an exclusive contract worth nearly $400 million to supply and design notes for the Bank of Canada until 2022; however, the security printer had prior contracts with the bank since the latter’s formation in 1935.

Aside from its payment systems division, which includes currency as well as postage stamps, excise stamps and more, the CBNC employs more than 1,000 people worldwide through three other divisions, including:

  • lottery systems (online games, terminals and systems, including full management of turnkey lottery installations, and marketing and on-site management, instant tickets and commercial games);
  • identification systems (passports, passport readers, passport issuing and border control systems, visas, drivers’ licences, identification cards, citizenship and related documents, vehicle registration forms); and
  • shareholder services (annual reports, stock and bond certificates, high-quality commercial printing).

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