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Oshawa tire shop gutted following Wednesday morning fire, officials investigating

WATCH: Workers at the shop tell Global News they opened a valve on a propane tank, heard a loud pop and then the garage was on fire.

Flames could be seen roaring from the roof of a local tire shop in Oshawa Wednesday morning.

The cause is still being investigated, but workers at Durham Tires at 491 Ritson Rd., where the fire started, say they were flipping on a propane tank when they heard a loud pop.

The incident happened around 8:30 a.m., and Oshawa’s fire chief says the blaze was fully involved when crews arrived.

“Our crews were able to isolate the fire to the one side of the building, away from the body shop,” says Chief Derrick Clark.

A witness, who was sitting in McDonalds at the time, saw the fire through the window.

“I noticed there was a lot of smoke coming out of the garage doors,” says Frank Moyse. “I was just using my phone and called 9-1-1.”

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READ MORE: Millions in damages after fires break out in Oshawa

Luckily no one was injured since the shop hadn’t yet opened for business, but fire officials say due to whipping winds and the nature of the fire, it was no easy task to knock down.

“This was a difficult fire with tires involved,” says the fire chief. The fire had taken over the second floor where he says a number of tires were stored, making it tricky to control. “It was hard, specifically because of smoke is very toxic for my crew. We had heavy smoke conditions as well.”

Those smoke conditions prompted a warning from the city of Oshawa. Smoke filled the air, forcing people nearby to keep their windows closed as crews battled the flames. It took the better part of two hours for them to get the upper hand though, since the fire was trapped in the roof.

Two fires ignite hour apart in Oshawa
Two fires ignite hour apart in Oshawa

“That’s where a significant amount of tires were stored,” says Clark. “The building is quite old, so we were dealing with two levels in the roof. Once we battled that, it was easier to knock down.”

Due to the age of the building, Clark says, it’s going to take some time to safely assess the damage.

“We’ll look at the cause, origin and circumstance of the fire,” he said. “We’ll notify the Ontario fire marshal and determine if an investigation beyond our investigation is warranted.”

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Officials say the building is a total loss, with damages pegged at nearly $500,000.

Investigators will work with the OFM and Durham Regional Police over the next day to determine what led to the fire.