Edmonton

4 firefighters taken to hospital after fire in Edmonton cement plant

Four firefighters were taken to hospital after a fire broke out at a cement plant on Tuesday morning.

The firefighters were taken to hospital as a precaution, an Edmonton Fire Rescue spokeswoman said

Gerry Sanderson, the plant's health and safety director, said some firefighters may have inhaled some gas coming from the burning silo. (CBC)

Four firefighters were taken to hospital after a fire broke out at a cement plant on Tuesday morning.

The fire began at around 9 a.m.in a coal silo at the Lehigh Hanson Inland Cement Plant in northwest Edmonton, said Gerry Sanderson, the plant's health and safety director. 

Edmonton Fire Rescue spokeswoman Jill McKenzie said 16 firefighters were called to the blaze when it was reported at around 11:30 a.m. 

What I'm told is that they possibly inhaled some CO or potential gas and became lightheaded and received oxygen.- Gerry Sanderson, Lehigh Hanson health and safety director

Four had to be "extracted" from the rooftop of the building, she said, and were taken to hospital as a precaution.

McKenzie would not comment on the firefighters' condition, or why they had to be sent to hospital.

Sanderson said the firefighters were spraying the fire from the roof of the silo when they may have been exposed to a gas inside.

"What I'm told is that they possibly inhaled some CO or potential gas and became lightheaded and received oxygen," he said. 

Sanderson could not say why the fire was reported to the fire department around two hours after it was discovered, but said the plant has its own emergency crews on site. 

No employees were injured in the fire and the plant was not evacuated. 

Fire trucks could still be seen coming and going from the plant on Tuesday afternoon.

Fire trucks could still be seen coming and going from the cement plant at around 4 p.m., hours after the fire started. (CBC)

The fire continued to burn around 4 p.m., but Sanderson said it's under control.

"It's raw coal, so it's just a smoldering fire, there's no flames or anything like that. Just a lot of smoke," he said.

Sanderson said the cause of the fire is still being determined, and that fires in cement plants are rare.

"We'll have some maintenance work to do once the fire is extinguished." he said. "We have to clean some coal out, repair the equipment that was damaged."

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