Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut July 03, 2011 - 5:39 pm

Firefighters quell potentially dangerous fire at Iqaluit tank farm

“This was a very unnerving situation to have a fire at the fuel storage area”

SARAH ROGERS
Crews were cleaning out tank 14 at Iqaluit’s fuel tank farm July 2 when a fire broke out, forcing works and emergency crews to evacuate the area. The fire was later extinguished and the city’s fire department is investigating the incident. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)
Crews were cleaning out tank 14 at Iqaluit’s fuel tank farm July 2 when a fire broke out, forcing works and emergency crews to evacuate the area. The fire was later extinguished and the city’s fire department is investigating the incident. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)

The city of Iqaluit says there should be no disruption to the community’s fuel supply or deliveries after a fire broke out in a local fuel tank farm early July 2.

Work crews were cleaning a mostly-empty tank 14 around 7 a.m. that morning when a fire broke out.

Work crews were called to the scene to extinguish the fire but were forced to evacuate the area, said a city of Iqaluit news release.

The fire was initially reported inside the tank but vented outside and ignited several drums of waste fuel removed earlier.

“This was a very unnerving situation to have a fire at the fuel storage area,” said Iqaluit fire chief Chris Wilson.

“Once it was established that the source of the fire was no longer coming from the tank itself, the decision was made to send in fire crews to extinguish the exterior fire and prevent any further expansion of the incident.”

Crews then stayed on the scene to monitor the tank as it continued to cool and ventilate smoke and heat.

Despite initial reports of a missing worker, all crew members was accounted for and only one person suffered minor injuries and was treated on the scene, the July 2 release said.

Wilson said that emergency crews responded well to a situation that could have had much more serious consequences.

Damage to the roof of tank 14 roof is visible but city officials say this is part of the tank’s safety design, which allows heat and gases to escape through the structure’s roof to minimize damage.

But the overall damage to the site is unknown.

The Iqaluit fire department is currently investigating the incident while other territorial agencies will conduct their own reviews and inspections.

Road closures near the tank farm have been opened but the Iqaluit landfill will remain closed, the news release said.

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