Over a dozen fire crews from around the region are battling a massive blaze at a recycling facility in Minto, N.B.
The fire at TRACC Tire Recycling started at around 10:30 p.m. on Friday.
Gregory Gilmore, deputy fire chief of Keswick Ridge Fire Department, says his team was called in to assist Minto Fire at around 5:30 a.m.
“They’re trying to separate the unburned tires from the fire itself in order to make some fire breaks and they’re doing that with excavators and dozers,” said Gillmore.
“I would expect it will be here days for sure, if not weeks.”
There are 17 different fire departments at the facility working to contain the blaze.
Traffic is being diverted away from Route 10. Police are asking the public to seek alternative routes.
By the afternoon, the province’s Department of Health issued an air quality warning for Minto, Chipman and surrounding areas.
“Residents should take precautions when heavy smoke affects air quality,” said Dr. Kimberley Barker, regional medical officer of health, in a statement. “Infants, children, pregnant women, older adults, smokers and people with chronic heart or lung diseases should stay indoors to reduce their exposure to the outdoor air.”
New Brunswick EMO is advising residents of Minto and Chipman to avoid the smoke, turn off air exchangers, stay indoors and avoid outdoor activities.
“There isn’t an evacuation order, so we’re asking everyone to stay home, close their windows, turn off ventilation systems and again if they are experiencing any discomfort to seek medical attention,” said New Brunswick EMO spokesperson Geoffrey Downey.
“This will be going on for a few days, so we’re asking people to adjust their behaviour accordingly to avoid the area.”
People’s Alliance Leader and Fredericton Grand Lake MLA Kris Austin, who lives near the plant, is calling the fire “devastating for the community.”
“TRACC is one of the largest employers Minto,” Austin said in a news release. “Because this is a tire fire, I am also concerned about the environmental and health risks for people who live in Minto.”
Nearby business owner Jacques Mill estimates the facility employs about 50 people.
“It’s just a big hit to our community. We’ve lost pretty well everything and this tire recycling business was a major employer and we can’t afford to lose it. We need it.”