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Precautionary evacuation for Red Deer, Alta., residents due to industrial fire


RED DEER – Residents from 80 homes in the central Alberta city of Red Deer have been asked to leave as a precaution due to a large industrial fire.

Others in the Oriole Park and Oriole Park West neighbourhoods are being asked to stay inside to avoid thick black smoke from the blaze.

City officials are advising people to close windows and doors and to turn off air intakes into their homes.

The fire is at Red Deer Ironworks, a metal shop in the city’s northwest that produces specialized equipment for the oil and gas sector.

Tyler Pelke, deputy chief of operations for Red Deer Emergency Services, says the call came in about 10:45 a.m.

He says firefighters have the flames under control, although it isn’t out yet.

“We continue to put out hotspots,” Pelke said Wednesday. “All employees of the business were able to evacuate and (there are) no known injuries at this time.”

Pelke said crews arrived to “a significant amount of fire in a bay.”

“Crews attempted to make entry, tried to fight the fire and get their way in, but couldn’t … due to the volume of heat and smoke. Then it became a defensive fire … quite a bit of thick, black smoke,” he said.

Pelke said it was not clear how the fire started.

The utility Atco shut off gas to the building.

The deputy chief said a breeze was causing challenges and there were some grass fires as well.

“There were some concerns about exposures, so … one of our first priorities was the neighbouring community or the houses that back onto that.”

Red Deer Ironworks tweeted a brief statement: “We have had a fire today at our facility in Red Deer, Alberta but everyone got out ok and the EMS crews are working on putting it out and are doing a great job,” the tweet read.

Pelke commended fire crews and the RCMP for their work during the evacuation and in controlling traffic.

 

News from Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. © 2018