Old video of Ontario construction site fire passed off as incident in Tel Aviv

By: Annet Preethi Furtado
December 19 2023

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Old video of Ontario construction site fire passed off as incident in Tel Aviv

Screenshots of the claim that a video shows a fire incident in Tel Aviv amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. (Source: TikTok/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video shows a fire incident at an under-construction building in Canada's Ontario. It is from June 2023 and is unrelated to Israel-Hamas conflict.

Claim ID 8cd880c3

What's the claim?

Numerous TikTok users have shared a seven-second clip showing a building engulfed in flames, emitting dense black smoke. In the video, workers in orange, yellow, black, and blue uniforms are visible near the building.

The video is captioned "Today Tel Aviv 07:12:2023" and features an Israeli flag. Archived versions of similar posts can be found here and here.

Screenshots of the viral TikTok videos. (Source: TikTok/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video depicts a fire from June 2023 at an under-construction suburb in Oakville, Ontario, and not Israel's Tel Aviv.

What did we find?

A reverse image search on keyframes from the video revealed various footage of the Oakville fire incident in Ontario from June 2023.

We observed that the featured building was wrapped in "Tyvek Homewrap," a protective barrier that prevents moisture while facilitating airflow to maintain building efficiency.

To validate the authenticity of the visuals, we compared a keyframe from the viral video with footage from CTV News and CHCH News from June 2023, noting a marked similarity in the Tyvek-wrapped buildings.

Visual comparison between the viral video with footage from CTV News and CHCH News. (Source: CTV News/CHCH News/TikTok)

News reports detailed an incident where construction worker Gregory Miller recorded a video right after he and his colleagues escaped a rapidly spreading fire in a developing suburb in Oakville.

According to the reports, Miller observed flames near a window on the main floor. The report further explains that the homes, in different phases of construction, caught fire rapidly. Oakville firefighters effectively managed to contain the fire, preventing it from impacting additional houses.

An extended, 37-second version of the video posted on TikTok on June 22 showed the segment in question, featuring workers in similar uniforms. The caption shared with the video read, "Fire breaks out in new suburb under construction in Oakville." Notably, a man in a blue uniform is visible in the extended footage, and the back of his shirt is marked with the inscription ''SMART SHEET METAL WORKERS UNION LOCAL 285.''

Screenshots from a TikTok video featuring the inscription ''SMART SHEET METAL WORKERS UNION LOCAL 285'' on the back of a worker's shirt. (Source: TikTok/Modified by Logically Facts)

''SMART SHEET METAL WORKERS UNION LOCAL 285'' is a Toronto-based labor union. The logo on the dark blue uniform matches the union's emblem, featuring the inscription on a maple leaf. 

Comparison of the logo observed on the dark blue uniform worn by the individual to the emblem of Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 285. (Source: TikTok/Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 285)

The union's website states that it represents over 150,000 skilled workers across Canada, the U.S., and Puerto Rico, with its main office in Toronto. There's no indication of a Tel Aviv branch.

Further, news reports pinpointed the fire at a site on Dundas Street and Ninth Line or Dundas Street East and William Cutmore Boulevard. Using Google Street View, Logically Facts identified images from August 2023 of an under-construction housing subdivision on William Cutmore Boulevard in Oakville that matched the viral video's buildings. These buildings were structured similarly and wrapped in Tyvek, suggesting the visuals were of the same construction site in Oakville.

Additionally, as these visuals date back to at least June 2023, they cannot be related to the Israel-Hamas conflict that broke out in October.

The verdict

A video of a fire incident at an under-construction suburb in Oakville, Ontario, from June 2023 has been shared with the false claim of showing an incident from Tel Aviv. We have, therefore, marked the claim as false.

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