PHOTOS: Grass fire spreads in north-east Regina
The Regina Fire Department was called to a grass fire north of Winnipeg Street in Regina during the evening rush hour Tuesday.
Deputy Chief Gerard Kay with the Fire Department explains the fire began as a grass fire along the CP line.
"We got a call at 5:20 pm. of some reported fires up along the CP line leading north of the city from about 9th Avenue North all the way up to Ipsco, and potentially beyond," he said.
Although the fire department hasn't confirmed it, those on the scene say the blaze was sparked by a passing train.
The fire spread along the grass in the area, and eventually to wooden pallets stored north of Hertz Equipment Rental. For about one hour, the north-east sky was filled with thick, black smoke. At one point, the flames were described as reaching almost 100 feet tall.
The flames were just outside of the fences of the Co-op Refinery. Emergency crews at the refinery were able to assist the fire department, and contain the flames.
"Our emergency crews responded from within the complex and essentially stoody by and let the Regina Fire Department know that we were prepared to help if needed," explained Vic Huard with the Refinery.
When they were called on to help as city fire crews fought the flames from the west a water truck from Co-op Refinery drenched it from the east.
The storage tanks for the Refinery were only 80 feet away.
Kay says the Fire Department had a number of trucks to battle the blaze and even called in the White City fire crews to deal with flames that were north by Ipsco.
Traffic was re-directed North of the Ring Road on Winnipeg Street and 12th Avenue North. But initially, Kay said congestion on surrounding roads also prevented some responders from getting to the scene.
Kay says part of what made the smoke so dark was that the fire had plenty of fuel.
"The pallets and I believe there was at least one vehicle, also I believe a forklift was also involved in that," he explained.
The space within the wooden pallets gave the fire plenty of air.
The owner of Bob's Discount Pallets watched a lot of his stock go up in smoke. He believes hundreds of pallets were destroyed in the fire.
He said he was especially thankful to the fire fighters from the refinery who helped saying they saved the buildings in his yard.
Fire Crews monitored the fire all night, letting it burn out after it had been contained.
Considering how big the flames got it was fortunate no one was hurt. However Kay expressed concern over how close the public stood to the thick smoke. He says it's not easy to say what chemicals could be in the pallets, potentially making the smoke very dangerous.
Power was knocked out because of the grassfire, affecting the Uplands and City View area. SaskPower's outage message said there is no estimated time of restoration.