Canadian Manufacturing

Six-alarm fire razes Toronto recycling facility

Mike Ouellette   

Canadian Manufacturing
Environment Operations Risk & Compliance Sustainability Cleantech

There were no injuries reported at the GFL Environmental Inc. plant, which handles non-residential commercial waste

TORONTO—Firefighters spent the night battling a large, stubborn six-alarm blaze at a recycling facility near the city’s waterfront.

Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said the blaze began just before 1 a.m. on Cherry St. and “escalated through the alarm levels very quickly.”

There were no reported injuries among workers who were in the facility owned by GFL Environmental Inc.

“There were staff on scene (and) shortly after our arrival, our crews were able to confirm that everyone was out of the building,” said Pegg.


He also said firefighters had not yet entered the building because of risk of collapse.

“It would be hazardous for us to do that. They’re outside the collapse zone working on defence and control.”

Pegg said the fire was challenging because it is in a mixed waste facility that handles non-residential commercial waste and until firefighters enter the structure, it’s impossible to know exactly what’s inside.

“Because we can’t positively identify what’s in there, we’re taking all the precautions necessary and making sure our crews are protected.”

A steady rain fell through the night and Pegg said that helped prevent any embers from flying around.

Pegg said he has heard from residents as far away as the northwest suburb of Etobicoke who reported smelling smoke from the fire but didn’t believe the smoke plume posed any hazards.

The fire chief also said it was too early to speculate on what may have caused the fire, adding that a hazardous materials team had been called in to monitor runoff from the fire.

Pegg said much of the water being used to battle the blaze was being supplied by a fireboat just offshore in Lake Ontario.

GFL Environmental describes the facility on its website as a solid waste transfer station, hauling yard and solid waste material recycling site.


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