Toronto firefighters have made “good progress” toward extinguishing a blaze that tore through an industrial building in north Etobicoke Friday, sending thick black smoke billowing into the air and forcing nearby businesses to be evacuated.
“Considering what we had to deal with this morning, we are in a much better place now,” said Deputy Fire Chief Jim Jessop from the scene.
“We are still extinguishing a number of hot spots, and there will continue to be a number of flare ups.”
The fire started at the commercial location on Vulcan Street shortly before 1:15 a.m. and quickly escalated. Crews arrived to find several tractor trailers on fire at the back of the business, which is listed as a chemical wholesaler. Jessop said the business deals in oil and vehicle fluids like lubricants and solvents.
At its peak, more than 100 firefighters were battling the blaze. No injuries were reported.
“The fire was very destructive and the heat, speaking to the crews, was intense,” Jessop said. “This was one of the more significant fires that we have seen in this city in the last number of years.”
Earlier this morning, Jessop and police had cautioned any nearby residents to shelter in place and keep their windows closed. In his most recent update, he said the threat from air pollution had dissipated.
“Our hazardous materials teams continue to monitor the air and there are no concerns at this time,” he said. “We were very lucky with the wind direction.”
All adjacent businesses will remain closed throughout the day, he added. It’s expected the fire crews will be on scene for at least the next 24 to 48 hours. The building is completely destroyed, he said.
“The damage is very significant,” Jessop added.
The Ontario Fire Marshal has been notified and will begin an investigation into the origins of the blaze once it is safe to enter the building, he said.