Fire crews to remain at St. Boniface fire overnight, deputy chief says

Vegetable oil in plant largely responsible for dark smoke from blaze

Posted: November 05, 2018
Last Updated: November 05, 2018

Flames leap from an industrial fire in St. Boniface on Monday. (John Einarson/CBC)

Fire crews were expected to remain overnight at a fire in Winnipeg's St. Boniface area after the fire spewed clouds of black smoke earlier Monday.

The fire was reported early Monday afternoon at a plant in an industrial part of St. Boniface on Dawson Road, just north of the stockyards. The dark smoke was largely caused by vegetable oil that was processed in the plant, said Russ Drohomereski, deputy chief with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

The business in the building is listed as Friendly Family Farms Ltd.


Drohomereski said air monitoring equipment posted downwind of the fire hadn't registered anything dangerous to the public.

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Fire crews were expected to remain overnight at a fire in Winnipeg's St. Boniface area Monday afternoon, after the fire spewed clouds of black smoke earlier in the day.  1:54

Crews had made headway fighting the fire throughout the day, Drohomereski said, but he expected the 22 vehicles at the plant would stay there overnight.

"Right now, all we're going to do is just maintain our defensive stance and pour water on it until it finishes burning through and collapsing,"  he said. "Hopefully we'll be working on spot fires tomorrow."

Crews battle the fire at an oil seed processing plant in Winnipeg's St. Boniface area on Monday. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Jeremy Hope lives in the area and first saw the smoke when he was heading out his back door.

He saw the flames get higher and higher and he watched the wall of the building collapse. 


"It was scary," he said.

Drohomereski said fighting the fire was hazardous and difficult, because it was so advanced when crews arrived and because of building and equipment collapses.

Smoke rises over St. Boniface from a Dawson Road business. (John Einarson/CBC)

The industrial building is an oilseed processing plant and has had two smaller fires, in May 2017 and in September 2018.

​"The first two fires that we had, we were able to actually get inside and attack them," Drohomereski said. "This fire was, as I said, well involved early on, so we had to really go into a defensive stance early on."

Crews dump water on the St. Boniface area fire on Monday. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

There were three employees in the building when the fire started, a news release from the city said. One was treated at the fire scene, with oxygen administered for smoke inhalation symptoms.

The fire department hasn't been able to confirm how the fire began. 

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Clouds of black smoke are covering part of Winnipeg due to a fire in an industrial area of St. Boniface.  0:29