Chemical fire burns at Nutrien potash mine near Vanscoy, Sask.

Fire crews from Saskatoon, the RM of Montrose and Delisle responded to a chemical fire at the Nutrien Vanscoy Potash Operation on March 7, 2020. Provided by the Saskatoon Fire Department

Firefighters from the Saskatoon Fire Department, the Rural Municipality of Montrose Fire Department and the Delisle Fire Department fought back flames from three chemical tanks at the Nutrien Vanscoy Potash Operation on Saturday night. The fire was still burning on Sunday afternoon.

Firefighters from the RM of Montrose and Delisle responded to the fire at 16 Agrium Rd., Vanscoy, and asked their Saskatoon colleagues for help shortly after 10 p.m., a statement from the Saskatoon Fire Department said.

The fire at the Vanscoy Nutrien Potash Operation, as it appeared around 2 p.m on March 8, 2020. Nathaniel Dove / Global News

A Hazmat team arrived at 10:30 p.m. and helped develop a response plan, which involved two additional fire engines. The engines arrived at the scene shortly after midnight and remained until the Saskatoon firefighters were released at 5 a.m.

Story continues below advertisement

Delisle Fire Chief Mike Given told Global News his team was on scene until 9 a.m.

Get the latest National news. Sent to your email, every day.

The statement said no one was injured and did not provide an estimate of the cost of the damage. Given said firefighters couldn’t get close enough to see what kind of damage was done but did call it “extensive.”

A Nutrien spokesperson said the company is monitoring the situation. Nathaniel Dove / Global News

Will Tigley, a Nutrien spokesperson, says the company is still assessing and monitoring the situation.

When asked if the chemicals, or the large plume of smoke caused by the fire, were dangerous, he said he was confident the situation was being managed properly and that Nutrien is working with various government regulatory agencies to that effect.

Story continues below advertisement

Operations at the mine were suspended in September 2019 due to what the company said was a short-term softening of the global potash market.

Roughly 265 employees were affected by the shutdown.

In January, Nutrien said operations would resume in March due to a positive outlook for the potash market heading into spring seeding.

Nutrien has not yet responded to a Global News inquiry on how the fire may affect the re-start of operations and the recall of laid-off employees.

Click to play video: 'Going underground with Nutrien’s potash crews'
Going underground with Nutrien’s potash crews

Sponsored content