***Correction: The original story stated this was the second fire at Retriev Technologies this year. That is not correct. On June 21, firefighters were called to a five-alarm fire at GFL Environmental, formerly Alpine Disposal and Recycling.
The emergency behind a fleet of fire engines screaming through town on Monday night has been revealed.
Chief Dan Derby from Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue says the department responded to a commercial fire alarm at Retriev Technologies, located in the Trail outskirts, on Oct. 25 shortly after 5:30 p.m.
While on route, firefighters were updated that the call wasn’t simply an alarm, but that, in fact, there was smoke and fire.
“Crews arrived and were met by Retriev staff who provided support and necessary details to action fire,” Derby explains. “Confirming the fire was in a single bunker that contained lithium ion batteries.”
He says a small quantity of lithium ion batteries ignited while in an engineered storage bunker.
“As per the plant emergency plan, crews activated the sprinkler system containing the fire almost immediately,” he continued. “Crews worked with plant staff to remove the fire damaged materials from the bunker for immediate processing to mitigate any further fire risk.”
In all, 42 Kootenay Boundary firefighters from Trail, Montrose, Fruitvale, Warfield and Rossland attended to ensure adequate resources were available if the situation escalated.
Derby says the fire was declared “under control” at 7 p.m.
There were no injuries reported by firefighters or Retriev workers.
Lithium ion batteries contain a liquid flammable electrolyte that may vent, ignite and produce sparks when damaged.
The resulting smoke may be irritating, corrosive and/or toxic. The main components of the smoke were likely carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter.
The batteries were packaged in cardboard boxes on wooden pallets which are also combustible.
This is the second industrial fire crews have been called to in the Waneta industrial area this year.
On June 21, firefighters worked through the night to extinguish a five-alarm blaze that ravaged a shed and large area of GFL Environmental.