MONCTON, N.B. (CP) - Employees were evacuated from a landfill
site in southeast New Brunswick Wednesday after a fire destroyed
two trailers full of hazardous materials.
Firefighters were called to the Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste
Corp. in the morning when two 15-metre trucks carrying paint and
propane tanks were engulfed in flames.
Firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading to a
nearby building.
No one was injured, however employees were sent home for the
rest of the day.
The scene was chaotic when firefighters first arrived.
Propane tanks were exploding and drums catapulted through the
air in flames.
"It was quite a spectacular sight," Moncton Fire Chief Eric
Arsenault said at the scene just barely outside Moncton's western
city limits.
The fire erupted at about 10 a.m. at the Atlantic Industrial
Services hazardous-waste handling facility on the property.
"They are clients of ours and they lease land on our
facility," corporation spokeswoman Christa Methot explained.
The company gathers and separates hazardous waste and ships it
elsewhere for treatment. It was their storage shed that caught
fire, forcing firefighters and the RCMP to cordon off a huge area
for fear of toxic smoke. At one point they briefly considered
evacuating a residential section of Moncton.
Some residents living in the area were advised to stay inside
and close their windows and doors.
Shawn Wheeler, manager of Atlantic Industrial Services, said the
fire was first noticed by one of his eight employees.
"Our procedures worked well. Our alarm system worked well,"
Wheeler said.
Within minutes, the waste corporation's 60 staff members, as
well as those working at Atlantic Industrial Services, had escaped
by using a back road that was built only last year, just in case of
such an emergency. (Moncton Times and Transcript)

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)