Saskatoon

Smoke clears at Shercom Industries after nearly 3-day blaze

Saskatoon Fire Services says they are still watching for hot spots at the tire recycling plant which began to smoke on Monday. They expect an investigation into the cause of the fire to begin on Thursday.

Saskatoon Fire Services says they are watching for hot spots

A few firefighters are still watching for spot fires at Shercom Industries in North Corman Industrial Park two days after they were initially called out. (Don Somers/CBC)

The smoke is clearing at a tire recycling plant north of Saskatoon after a massive blaze which lasted over 40 hours and involved more than 100 firefighters.

A few firefighters are still watching for spot fires at Shercom Industries in North Corman Industrial Park days after they were initially called out.

"We have managed to knock out all of the major fire," Saskatoon Fire assistant chief Dave Bykowy said.

Crews were initially called out on Monday just after 7 p.m. CST after smoke and flames were seen coming from a warehouse at the plant. The fire quickly spread to a second building, containing more than 9,000 kilograms of shredded rubber and 80 large barrels of polyurethane. Bykowy said that less than 10 per cent of the polyurethane ruptured and the third warehouse is in decent shape.

"We were really, really pleased that everything was saved, pretty well, in the third building which housed some very expensive equipment for some of the processes that they carry out. So that was a real win," Bykowy said.

The smoke is clearing at a tire recycling plant north of Saskatoon after a massive blaze which lasted almost three days. (Don Somers/CBC)

At any given time there were about 30 active personnel involved in firefighting activities, which were cycled through every three hours. Bykowy said it was one of the biggest blazes Saskatoon Fire Services has ever been involved in.

Once the hotspots are all found, the province's emergency management and fire safety will be investigating the scene, Bykowy said. He could not provide an estimated cost.

Neighbouring businesses back to normal

On Wednesday as the smoke and flames died down, businesses near Shercom Industries once again opened their doors.

The president of Commercial Sandblasting and Paint Robert Phillips said they were evacuated from their building on Monday and workers stayed home on Tuesday.

"The smoke the first night was coming directly along the north side of our building, so we came in and made sure that the air systems weren't pulling air into the building so we could minimize any smoke damage," he said.

The president of Commercial Sandblasting and Paint Robert Phillips says they were evacuated because of the fire. (Don Somers/CBC)

Fortunately, he said they have other locations they could do a lot of their business out of, but he feels for his neighbours.

"It's unfortunate. They are great people and good neighbours, and to have such a tragedy is very unfortunate for them," he said.

When the scene is cleaned up, he said they will have to check their building and nearby machinery for residue, to make sure nothing toxic or dangerous was left behind.

Phillips said there is also a fertilizer plant and propane facility in the neighbourhood, but he is not worried about further flames disrupting his business.

"We don't worry about our neighbours; most of our neighbours have safety plans in place," he said.

Phillips said he bought a water tanker for firefighters in Warman, Sask. a few years ago because it is difficult to get water to the area. 

It was well-used during this fire, he added.

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