Firefighters battle massive fire at a Scarborough auto salvage yard
Chris Herhalt, Joshua Freeman and Amara McLaughlin, CP24.com
Published Thursday, April 6, 2017 11:53AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 6, 2017 10:18PM EDT
Firefighters are continuing to battle a massive five-alarm fire at an auto salvage yard in the northeast corner of Scarborough.
Toronto Fire Capt. David Eckerman said they were called to Standard Auto Wreckers at Sewells Road and Steeles Avene East shortly after 11 a.m. after one of the holding tanks for oil caught fire and the flames spread to the oil pit and a neighbouring building.
The blaze was described to them as an oil pit fire. It spread to an adjacent building on the yard. Eckerman told CP24 on Thursday, and a holding tank filled with oil caught fire.
Eckerman said the blaze will be “problematic” to fight due to between 20 and 40 km/h winds, alongside flammable fuels and other substances present in the yard.
“Our first strategy right now is to deploy most of our resources to prevent the spread of fire to the storage area. That’s the first priority,” Chief Matt Peg told CP24 at the scene. “In the event it gets there we are putting provisions in place by foam.”
Pegg said foam, which is more effective at fighting fires involving flammable liquids, is being shipped in so that it can be applied to the seat of the fire.
He said it’s hard to say how long it will take to stamp out the blaze, but it could be anywhere from a few hours to a “protracted incident.”
Employees of the auto wrecker have been evacuated from the scene. The fire was originally two alarms, but hit five alarms after 2 p.m due to high winds.
CN Rail traffic through the area was briefly suspended but has since resumed.
Eckerman said water tankers from the Pickering, Markham and Richmond Hill fire departments were called in to assist and resources from Pearson International Airport were on standby.
So far, no injuries have been reported.
Steeles Avenue East between Staines and Sewells Roads re-opened after being closed all afternoon for fire crews to battle the blaze.
The flames were largely under control by 5 p.m., Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said, but crews will remain on scene of the fire overnight to put out hot spots.
City councillor Neethan Shan told CP24 that the Ministry of Environment officials were at the scene on Thursday afternoon to assess the fire's impact on air quality for surrounding neighbourhoods.
The cause of the blaze is not yet known. An investigation into the cause is underway.