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West Edmonton industrial fire prompts calls for improved water services

Click to play video: 'West Edmonton fire extinguished after 20 hours'
West Edmonton fire extinguished after 20 hours
A fire in west Edmonton proved especially difficult to fight. As Morgan Black reports, those who saw the fire spread say they have suggestions to prevent it from happening again – Aug 26, 2022

A 20-hour-long fire battle at an Edmonton plastics recycling plant wrapped up Friday morning, but it has neighbouring business owners calling for changes.

The fire broke out just before 3 p.m. Thursday in an industrial area near 199 Street and 113 Avenue N.W.

Dozens of firefighters worked overnight and into the morning to put out the stubborn blaze.

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Alberta Environment has been monitoring the situation because of the materials that burned and the toxins that may have been released.

“We have offered to provide air monitoring and other supports, if needed,” an Alberta Environment spokesperson told Global News on Friday morning.

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“The recycling facility contained cardboard, plastics and paper that caught on fire. Currently, the fire department is actively working with the company to identify materials and extinguish the remaining hot spots.”

Chris Ambrozic is president of Scorpio Masonry, right next to the GFL plant where the fire broke out, and says watching it spread was terrifying.

“It was really disconcerting — is the fire going to jump into the piles to the west or is it going to jump south into our property? We were very concerned at the time,” said Ambrozic.

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He says there have been three fires at the recycling plant in as many years.

That’s why he’s been asking the city to make changes to water services in the industrial park, specifically the installation of a fire hydrant.

“Emergency services basically have to hook into a fire hydrant on 199 Street, which is about three-quarters of a kilometre away, then they have to hook up two pump trucks before they can get a live stream onto the fire. So that’s about a 45-minute to an hour set up.”

“They were hustling, they were doing the best they could,” he said about fire crews on scene. “It’s just that by that time, the structure behind us was already gone.“

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Global News reached out to the City of Edmonton but had not received a response at the time of publication.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

–with files from Morgan Black, Global News

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