Laval firefighters still trying to extinguish smoky blaze in Vimont recycling dump

Units from the Laval Fire Department were still active Wednesday at a recycling dump on Saulnier St. in Vimont where a fire has been burning since last Saturday in a large pile of recycled construction materials.

According to the Laval Fire Department, the firefighters are expected to continue trying to douse the heavily smoking pile for days to come, as there are still no signs of it going out.

Smoke from the smouldering pile has been drifting across Autoroute 440 towards Cité de la Santé hospital on René Laennec Blvd., where employees have been complaining of irritated eyes, sore throats, dizziness and headaches from the smoke.

Firefighers from Laval have been working day and night to extinguish the smouldering blaze in a recycling yard in Vimont near Autoroute 440. (Photo: courtesy APL)

While there were reports that the smoke was entering the hospital’s ventilation system, the system can’t be turned off because of current COVID-19 sanitary requirements.

The pile, made up mostly of old and dry scrap wood as well as other remaindered construction scrap, was first reported to be ablaze around 9 am on Saturday, said the Laval Fire Department.

According to the Association des Pompiers de Laval, smoke and flames were visible from nearby Autoroute 440, as well as Route 335, and Autoroute 19 which intersects the A-440.

(Photo: Courtesy of APL)

On Wednesday, the APL Tweeted that the firefighters were continuing to pour water on the smoking mass after five days and nights.

They have been trying to extinguish the source of the blaze, which is at the centre of one of the piles in the yard.

The fire department has ruled out arson as the cause. They say it is more likely a case of spontaneous ignition caused by intense heat generated deep inside the pile as the materials decomposed.

They believe the fire probably started weeks ago, but was only noticed in the last few days as the smoke and flames became obvious.

A source who contacted the Laval News by e-mail last Monday night referred to the recycling yard as “toxic” and an unhealthy place to work for low pay.

On Monday, provincial environmental damage assessment workers were on the scene monitoring the smoke for potentially toxic content.