April 23, 2014 6:15 pm

4 firefighters badly injured battling massive fire in Mississauga

WATCH: 4 firefighters badly injured battling massive fire in Mississauga. Mark Carcasole reports. 

TORONTO – Four firefighters were injuredwhen explosions went off and a wall collapsed during a three-alarm blaze at an industrial building in Mississauga Wednesday morning.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion said firefighters had no idea what was in the warehouse prior to arriving because they didn’t have occupancy permits for the building.

“[It’s a] very, very sad situation and you know we have an occupancy permit for a good reason, so our fire department and our police department knows what stored in the building,” she said during an afternoon press conference “It’s so important the fire department knows what products, especially combustibles, are stored in the building.”

The city is investigating whether the business or property owner had obtained an occupancy permit for the warehouse. McCallion said the most recent inspection of the building she’s aware of was done a year ago and at the time it was empty.

WATCH: Hazel McCallion hopes fire will serve as a lesson to business and property owners

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The fire started around 4 a.m. at a warehouse storage facility located northwest of Toronto on Thamesgate Drive near Highway 407 and Airport Road.

Four firefighters were taken to hospital with serious injuries and one was listed in critical condition but his condition has since improved.

Mississauga fire chief John McDougall told Global News all of those hurt are expected to survive.

“They are improving, there are two or three of them that are undergoing surgery, and some need more surgery, but they are stable,” McDougall said. “We’re hoping that improves over the next few hours.”

He added that all four firefighters suffered “blast injuries” and not burn injuries.

He wouldn’t release personal details of the injured men but said all four were “seasoned” and experienced firefighters.

WATCH: Firefighters injured in large industrial fire expected to survive

The building is a storage facility for imported goods including butane lighters and aerosol cans.

There were reports of multiple small explosions coming from containers within the building. Crews were also concerned about nearby hydro lines.

“It appears at this point that the explosions were caused by butane lighters that were stored in the building and aerosol cans of bug spray,” said Constable Thomas Ruttan.

“At this point there’s no issue in terms of toxicity of the smoke that’s coming from the fire.”

Additional units, including the Hazmat team, have been called in. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

“We are on the scene, the fire is under control. The cause of the fire has not been determined,” McDougall said in a media release. “Our thoughts are with the firefighters who were injured.”

One witness who lives across the street from the building says she saw a large plume of smoke emanate from the building.

“At the beginning of this morning, it was absolutely crazy,” Bianca Genova told Global News. “It was popping every second, there were multiple canisters blowing up. It was absolutely insane resulting in a huge explosion.”

WATCH: The early morning blaze burned so hot, it actually melted a nearby fire engine

Peel Regional Police are advising people who work in the area of Steeles south to Derry and Airport to Torbram to stay away for the time being.

Flights in and out of Toronto Pearson International Airport have not been affected by the fire despite the close proximity.

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