Canadian Manufacturing

Workers’ quick actions save Ottawa paper warehouse from going up in smoke

Three workers used in-house fire hose to start extinguishing flames

OTTAWA—Workers at an Ottawa paper warehouse are being credited with some fast thinking.

Fire officials say about 15 workers were in the warehouse the morning of May 16 when a fire broke out in an area where bales of recyclable paper were stacked about six metres high.

Ottawa Fire Services says crews were called to Cascades Recovery Inc. in the city’s east end just after 6 a.m.

Fire officials say that when the alarm sounded, employees followed the emergency plan and evacuated the building, while three workers used the in-house fire hose to start extinguishing the flames.

The sprinkler system also activated which helped stop the spread of fire inside the 4,600-square-metre facility where paper is recovered for recycling.

At least three people suffered smoke inhalation and were treated by paramedics, and officials said the fire was brought under control but some bales continued to burn.

Fire crews continued to ventilate the building while using on-site equipment to remove the bales of paper in order to extinguish any remaining fire deep inside the paper.

Officials said crews were expected to be on scene for much of the day to finish removing and extinguishing the paper bales.

Police had closed the road where the facility is located but reopened it a few hours later.

However, a number of emergency vehicles remained on the scene and commuters were being urged to use alternate routes.

There’s no immediate word on the cause of the fire or the total cost of the damage.

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