A massive fire in an industrial area in the city’s northwest, visible from Edmonton’s downtown, left three buildings owned by an local business in ruins yesterday afternoon, causing about $1 million in damages.

Tall plumes of smoke hovered over the entire northwest side of the city around 2 p.m. as fire crews tried to contain the blaze at Sure Shot Sandblasting at 222 Avenue and 115 Street, making sure flames wouldn’t spread to nearby businesses.

Fire crews say the blaze began in an area of the property that was under construction.

Manager Brook Parker spoke briefly with Metro about the incident yesterday afternoon, confirming all employees escaped the blaze unharmed.

“We’re very busy dealing with this, but yes, everyone is OK,” he said.

John Muir, a spokesman with the Edmonton Fire Department, said fire investigators believe work crews were inside a large building on the property.

“A flame from the welding machine came in contact with insulation causing the fire,” said Muir.

“One of the people tried extinguishing the fire, and … was unsuccessful.”

Muir says everyone was evacuated from the building and fire crews were called in around 1:30 p.m.
The fire was contained shortly before 2:30 p.m. and crews were able to douse the flames around 3:45 p.m.

Traffic on 215 Street, south of Yellowhead Trail, was blocked off by police throughout most of the afternoon as crew worked to put out the large blaze.

As thick clouds of black smoke rolled through the area, residents and employees at nearby businesses watched as their power was cut off. Power was not restored to many homes and businesses for hours after the flames were doused.

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