No one was injured when a Chiles Industrial Park business was engulfed in flames on Wednesday morning.
The Diversified Glycol Services metal warehouse located east of Hwy 2A on Red Deer’s north side burned to the ground around 9:15 a.m., sending thick black smoke billowing to the northwest.
The structure sustained an estimated $500,000 in damages and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
“There are no fumes coming off this so we’re not worried about anyone downwind becoming ill from it,” said Red Deer Emergency Services platoon chief Peter Barron at the scene.
He said none of the three people in the shop when the fire broke out were injured, although some businesses to the north were evacuated as a precaution.
It’s not known what specific services Diversified Glycol Services provides. Company owners’ family members on scene declined to comment. Glycol is an organic yet toxic compound widely used as automotive antifreeze and as a precursor to polymers.
Michael Arnault of Tank Traders, which shares a building with Superior Propane west of the fire, watched the blaze erupt.
“There was a large mushroom cloud type of explosion before the fire department even got here,” he recounted, adding other smaller blasts followed.
“Either propane tanks or some kind of small tanks, probably about six, blew up.”
Barron said the first unit on scene found the building “fully involved so we went to defensive operation, which means we’re going to fight the fire from the exterior.”
Traffic into the industrial park was cut off as numerous passersby stopped to watch.
A downed yet live power line initially kept ATCO Gas workers from shutting off gas service. Eventually both utilities were cut off as firefighters kept hosing the smouldering remains as the gas was bled off.