Transcona evacuations lifted as asphalt plant smoke snuffed out
Dark smoke choked neighbourhood
A school and several Transcona businesses were evacuated Monday as an industrial fire sent plumes of thick, black smoke and a toxic stench into the air.
Emergency crews from Winnipeg and the rural municipality of Springfield remain at Pounder Emulsions, an asphalt plant on Day Street between Gunn and Springfield roads.
As of 4:30 p.m., WFPS officials said the fire is "knocked down", though crews remain on scene to keep cooling the asphalt tanks.
Christian Schmidt, deputy chief of communications for the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service, said the fire did not spread to other buildings in the area.
Raw video of asphalt plant fire:
Buildings within 800 metres of the fire were ordered to evacuate due to potential for an explosion and the toxicity of the materials that were on fire, Schmidt said. That evacuation order was lifted just before 6 p.m.
ALT Closets owner Thomas Dyck said the evacuation order put a damper on the business day. He could see black smoke coming down the tracks toward his shop on Transport Road.
"It looked like they had it controlled, and then all of a sudden black smoke came up again."
Provincial officials from Sustainable Development have been monitoring air quality. While there's still a distinct odour, they say they haven't been able to detect hazardous gases.
Some localized road closures will remain in place Monday night. The Transcona Kinsmen Centennial Pool and Transcona Library are also closed for the evening.
Students from Harold Hatcher Elementary School were bussed to Bernie Wolfe Community School, and their parents were asked to come pick them up from there.
Due to smoke in the area, classes were cancelled for the day at Murdoch MacKay Collegiate and Collège Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau, the River East Transcona School Division tweeted Monday afternoon.
The fire broke out around 10 a.m. Monday.
"I just went outside the front of my house and I could smell something, so I went out on my roof because that's the best vantage point and yeah, there's a ton of thick, heavy black smoke and it doesn't smell the greatest, either," said Jason Searcy, who lives near the area.
The City of Winnipeg is advising people with breathing issues in the area to stay indoors and keep doors and windows closed.
Pounder Emulsions' website says it manufactures more than 30 different types of emulsified asphalt for use in the road construction and maintenance industry.
The company is a division of Husky Energy, which tweeted that "all workers have been accounted for and there are no reported injuries."
Road closures: The area bound by Day Street, Redonda Street, the North Perimeter Highway and Paulley Drive/Larche Avenue E. is closed to traffic due to the fire. The city asks drivers to avoid the area.
Due to drifting smoke, police also blocked northbound Lagimodiere Boulevard, redirecting traffic onto Chief Peguis Trail.