THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Thunder Bay Fire Rescue was kept busy today as a fire at the Dutchak Recycling facility on Hammond Street was extinguished.
Platoon Chief J. Kaplanis reports that at approximately 10:00 am today Thunder Bay Fire Rescue responded to a report of a debris pile that was burning at a scrap metal facility located on this property. The fire was reported to have begun after workers on site had been using an acetylene torch to cut metal debris outside in an area of the yard used for storing scrap metal.
The initial arriving fire command officer determined that, by the time of his arrival, the fire had grown much larger than what was initially reported.
He, therefore, requested additional fire apparatus and personnel to respond to assist with fighting the fire.
A total of 3 pumpers and an aerial ladder truck in addition to a fire command unit all responded to the incident. Fire crews utilized a foam-based extinguishing agent to quench the fire quicker in hopes of reducing residual runoff to a nearby estuary along the shoreline of Lake Superior.
It should be noted that, in addition to providing protection of life and property, the Thunder Bay Fire and Rescue mission is to also protect the environment from spills and contamination.
As a result of this concern, an Ontario Ministry of Environment was notified by fire command officials. Subsequently, an MOE investigator responded to the scene and reported that they were satisfied that firefighting efforts were effective in preventing water and debris from flowing toward the nearby shoreline.
Upon further investigation into the cause of the fire, it was determined that when site staff was conducting cutting operations, hot metal “slag” had fallen down into the pile of debris thus igniting a tire and various other petroleum-based products that were combined within the debris pile.
This created a condition causing a deep-seated and difficult fire to extinguish.
A large excavator machine on site was brought in to assist firefighting efforts by removing debris to allow firefighters to get at the deeply seated fire below. The fire was extinguished fully and crews had cleared the scene around 2:00 pm this afternoon.
There were no civilian or firefighter injuries as a result of this incident.