Saskatoon warehouse continues to smoulder following fire

A warehouse in Saskatoon's Sutherland neighbourhood that caught on fire Friday afternoon continues to smoulder Monday morning.

Sutherland warehouse fire burned for 19 hours before it was under control

A warehouse in Saskatoon's Sutherland area continues to smoulder three days after a fire ripped through the building. (Jennifer Quesnel/CBC)

A warehouse in Saskatoon's Sutherland neighbourhood that caught on fire Friday afternoon continues to smoulder. 

Firefighters work to extinguish a two-alarm fire at a Sutherland warehouse. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC)
Grey smoke billows from the middle of the Canadian Tire warehouse on 105th Street East, drifting north over the rail yards. There are no members of the fire department on scene. However, a commissionaire is watching over the warehouse from a vehicle Monday morning. 

Toxic smoke

Fire officials said the fire burned for 19 hours before crews could control the blaze. The smoke was highly toxic, fire officials said, since tires and oil were among the burning items. 

Deputy medical health officer Dr. Michael Schwandt said no public health inspectors were asked to do air testing.

"We haven't heard any specific health reports either through health care providers or individuals contacting us as of yet," he said.

"The fire seems to have been put out, so we expect the concentration of these potential toxins should be going down over time with the wind we have."

If people have "unusual" symptoms, especially those involving irritated eyes, nose or throat, Schwandt said they should go to a doctor. Anyone worried about air quality can contact the health region.

'Sometimes it was hard to breathe'

Sutherland resident Bonita Rogalski lives about three blocks from the warehouse. She said the smoke smelled like burning rubber.

"It just had an awful smell," she said. "It kind of smelled like tires burning."

Twelve-year-old Ethan Wojciechowski was outside delivering flyers to 75 homes in Sutherland on Saturday afternoon when he caught the unpleasant odor.

"It's almost like the smell of fire when you're at a camp but worse," he said. 

"Sometimes it was hard to breathe."

Unlike Ethan, Melany Wojciechowski, stayed inside her home for most of Saturday because of the smell. The fire was unnerving for her.

"I was driving home and I was coming up the street there and I could see it, and just thought oh, a little too close to home for me,"

Oxygen tank explodes

Police and fire crews first responded to the fire on Friday around 4 p.m. CST on Friday. According to the Saskatoon Fire Department, every fire truck in the city showed up to fight the fire and 32 firefighters were on scene at one point.

The intense heat from the flames caused an oxygen tank stored inside the warehouse to explode, acting as a missile that shot through the side of the building's metal walls. Investigators told CBC News this is the type of hazard that firefighters are worried about when they deal with a blaze of this nature.

No injuries have been reported. Fire investigators will continue their investigation into the cause of the blaze on Tuesday.

There are no reports of damage estimates at this point.