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Red Deer County firefighters respond to waste company fire

Fire at business in industrial park just west of Red Deer started Tuesday morning

Red Deer County volunteer firefighters expected to be on the scene of a disposal company warehouse fire until Wednesday evening.

Fire inspector Scott Tuton said they got the call about 8:45 a.m. that there was a fire at Empringham Disposal at 22 Belich Crescent in an industrial park just west of the city.

County firefighters arrived and called in mutual aid help with firefighters from Red Deer, Innisfail and Sylvan Lake lending a hand.

“We had about 25 people at the heart of the fight,” said Tuton.

“When I pulled up the vehicle inside was fully involved and it was spreading to the rest of the garbage/recycling cardboard in the building,” he said.

The fire started with a grappler-type machine used to move material around inside the building. The operator noticed that something was burning and called 911.

Firefighters battled the fire for 15 hours before a break was called.

“We shut down operations last night around midnight for safety and visibility concerns. We left a skeleton crew here overnight and then we came back this morning to start hauling the rest of the garbage out and hosing it off and we’ll continue for the next few hours,” Tuton said late Wednesday afternoon.

The nature of the material inside made putting out the fire difficult.

“It’s cardboard and garbage. If we hose it off inside we can’t get underneath it so it’s got to be pulled out in layers and hosed off.”

The operator of the vehicle was not injured nor were any firefighters.

The warehouse-style building was mostly damaged by smoke with minor flame damage.

“It’s a steel building so it’s still structurally sound. Once we get all burning stuff out of there they will be able to go back into operation in a few days or a week or so.”

No damage estimate was available yet.

Empringham rents out garbage bins and also collects trash, junk and construction waste from individuals and companies.

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