Canadian Firefighter Magazine

‘Majority’ of fire at Toronto industrial site extinguished, deputy fire chief says

By Kiernan Green, The Canadian Press   

Headlines News industrial fire toronto

Aug. 11, 2023, Toronto – Toronto firefighters have extinguished the majority of a blaze at an industrial site where chemicals were stored, the deputy fire chief said, adding that the incident no longer posed a public safety risk.

Residents near the scene of the fire in the city’s west-end had earlier been asked to stay indoors with their windows shut amid concerns that burning lubricants, motor oil and other flammable liquids in the facility could produce hazardous smoke.

Deputy Chief of the Toronto Fires Services Jim Jessop told the Canadian Press in an interview on Friday afternoon that “the overwhelming majority of the fire has been extinguished and we are really now just dealing with hotspots, which is not uncommon for these types of fires.”

“There is no risk to the public at this time,” he added.

He said that work to contain the fire would likely continue through the weekend, given the amount of flammable liquid at the site.

“Every time we think we have the fire out, if a liquid shifts and comes in contact with an ember or with an ignition source, we will get a flare up,” Jessop explained.

Once the fire is fully extinguished, an investigation into the cause will be conducted, he said.

No injuries have been reported.

Toronto Fire said crews were called at 1:15 a.m. on Friday to respond to the scene at 35 Vulcan St. in Etobicoke, an industrial site operated by Brenntag, a German chemical distribution company.

When they arrived, they found several tractor trailers on fire at the back of the industrial building, and the blaze was declared a “six alarm” incident.

“Brenntag has been in the chemical distribution business for over 70 years and is fully committed to the safety of our neighbours and our employees,” a company statement issued earlier said.

Speaking earlier at the scene, Jessop told reporters that more than 25 crews had been battling the fire and that businesses in the area had been shut.

Given the nature of the chemicals stored at the site, concern immediately shifted to potential health and environmental threats.

Jessop had said that the incident was also being treated as “a hazardous materials incident addressing the water runoff and monitoring the air quality,” and that the fire service had notified the ministry of the environment about the blaze that had sent massive amount of smoke into the air.

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