Firefighters still tackling hotspots in Port Colborne industrial fire

A massive blaze that levelled a vinyl factory in Port Colborne on Tuesday was still smouldering as of early Wednesday afternoon, authorities say.

A heavy equipment operator is heading to the Vinyl Works Canada facility to conduct demolition so fire crews to access hot spots in the wreckage, Port Colborne Fire Chief Tom Cartwright said at a press conference.

Massive plastics fire in Port Colborne now under control

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The fire has been under control since Tuesday afternoon, but low temperatures haven’t helped in the quest to stamp out the flames.

“Everything was frozen. At 5:30 this morning, we had to stop because we had hoses that were so frozen we weren’t passing water through them,” Deputy Chief Mike Bendia said.

Firefighters were called to the plant on Barber Drive after the fire broke out at 7:39 a.m. on Tuesday.

No one was injured, but the fire produced thick plumes of smoke that could be seen from as far away as Buffalo, a local news outlet reported.

At the peak of the efforts, 55 firefighters from all over the area were sent to battle the blaze, Bendia said.

Ontario’s Office of the Fire Marshal is on site to investigate the cause of the fire. Bendia said there is no official estimate on the damage, but it’s in excess of a million dollars.

Officials from the Ministry of Environment are continuing to monitor water and air quality in the area, though no concerns were reported on Tuesday.

“They indicated to me all of the air sampling that they did, which was about four-five hours’ worth, was in an acceptable level,” Bendia said.

Area residents are still being asked to keep windows closed and stay indoors if they smell or see smoke.

With files from Ken Mann

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