Workers flee blaze that destroys warehouse

Firefighters throughout the Red Deer region battled a warehouse blaze for more than six hours in an industrial park just southeast of Blackfalds on Wednesday.

Firefighters throughout the Red Deer region battled a warehouse blaze for more than six hours in an industrial park just southeast of Blackfalds on Wednesday.

The Town of Blackfalds fire department was dispatched to Burbank Industrial Park within Lacombe County at about 5 p.m. after a 911 call was received from staff working at Hall Industrial Contracting Ltd. The company specializes in urethane foam and spray applications for the oilfield industry.

Blackfalds fire chief Robert Cote said the building is a writeoff and damages are estimated at $600,000.

The exact cause is unknown.

The fire originated inside one of the bays of the warehouse where employees were working. Employees were able to get out in time.

“One employee had to stop, drop and roll and (he) received minor burns,” said Cote on Thursday. “When we arrived, there were flames and smoke showing through the roof.”

A total of about 30 firefighters were on scene.

Added reinforcements were called in from City of Lacombe, City of Red Deer, as well as Town of Bentley and Village of Clive.

Cote said they needed to get an aerial truck and another fire engine to supply that truck.

Since there are no fire hydrants within the county industrial area, fire crews had to shuttle water back and forth.

The town provides fire services to the county.

“We tried to contain the fire to the bay, but it got into the roof structure,” said Cote.

“It made it really hard to get at and with the weakened structure, it could collapse. You couldn’t get inside underneath it.”

As a result, firefighters had to start tearing the building apart by using a heavy forklift.

Firefighters had to consider possible dangers as well because a lot of flammables, including paints and solvents, were located inside. Fortunately, those flammables didn’t catch on fire, Cote said.

Firefighters were on scene for 6.5 hours. The warehouse is located on a big lot, so there was no danger of the blaze closing in on any nearby businesses, Cote said.

“It took close to six hours to contain (the fire),” he said.

The warehouse was made of metal and wood and was about 20 years old, he said.

The company has insurance.

An official with Hall Industrial couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday morning.

Fire investigators are expected to be on scene Thursday and Friday. Part of the process will involve interviewing employees, said Cote.

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