Oct. 1, 2012, Winnipeg - Thick, black smoke and flames continued to spew late Monday from a Winnipeg warehouse that holds highly explosive fuel used for car racing.
Dozens of emergency vehicles were expected to spend the night on site at Speedway International, a company that boasts on its website it is "North America's No. 1 source for 99.99 per cent racing
The first huge fireball of many went up in the air shortly before the supper hour, accompanied by a column of dark smoke.
Throughout the night, more explosions could be heard and smaller fireballs could be seen as the contents of the warehouse ignited.
Employees said the good news is that no one was inside the building at the time and everyone had been accounted for.
However, there were also worries because of train cars sitting nearby that also contain the racing fuel.
"Numerous roadways in the surrounding area have been closed to all traffic,'' Winnipeg police said in a statement. "As a result of the fire, some evacuations in the immediate area have already
Police were also warning people who might be tempted to come out and watch the fire to stay home.
"Emergency personnel have noted that some members of the public have made their way toward the scene due to curiosity. These individuals are requested to leave the area immediately.''
Manitoba fire commission Dave Schafer confirmed that the surrounding area had been evacuated but could not say whether there were concerns about toxicity from the smoke.
"The main concern with any fuel is explosions,'' he said.
Witnesses said they could feel heat on their faces from blocks away.
Speedway International says its Pro Comp racing methanol can be shipped throughout North America in sealed 55-gallon drums via tank trucks and by rail.
"Pro Comp racing methanol will provide more horsepower, more torque and longer engine life than any other industrial grade or off-spec methanol,'' the company says on its website.
It says the fuel is used for drag racing and Indy car racing.
Speedway International owner Royce Rostecki made headlines a few years ago when a subsidiary of his company, Greenway Bio-diesel, became the first in the province to be licensed for production of