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Crews battle industrial blaze near Saskatoon


April 5, 2016
By The Canadian Press

April 5, 2016, Saskatoon - Crews from three fire departments continued Tuesday to battle flames that were burning through a rubber tire recycling business.

Assistant Chief Dave Bykowy of the Saskatoon Fire Department said two buildings in the three-building Shercom Industries complex had been destroyed. Firefighters were trying to save the third building.

Smoke containing suspected toxic fumes has been billowing from the site since the fire was reported early Monday night. The plume has been blowing between the city and nearby Martensville and dispersing.

"Fortunately the wind direction is great in terms of it pushing it in a direction that is not too populated,'' Bukowy said. "The risk remains minimal at this time.''

Air was being monitored for toxic fumes and crews battling the fire were wearing oxygen breathing equipment to protect themselves, the deputy chief added.

The Saskatchewan Environment Ministry was testing the smoke to determine the health risk.

The fire was being fuelled by tonnes of shredded rubber and chemicals used in recycling.

No injuries were reported. About 80 people work at the facility.

Bykowy said it would take time to extinguish the blaze.

"Rubber tire fires are particularly stubborn. We are working hard at it.''

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Crews from the Warman and Martensville fire departments were also fighting the blaze.

Shercom's website says its plant is a world-class, fully integrated tire recycler that makes rubber products.

The company estimates that people in Saskatchewan dispose of more than one million scrap tires every year and that Shercom collects tires from dealers across the province.

Shercom officials were not immediately available for comment.