Two people were treated for smoke inhalation injuries after a massive fire on Wednesday morning at QPS Mechanicals in Chatham.
Chatham-Kent Fire & Emergency Services officials say the call came in at 9:23 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
“Fire dispatch received calls to an automatic fire alarm at 7 Hart Place, Chatham,” fire officials said in a media release.
“Crews from Stations 1 and 2, Chatham responded immediately and noted large quantities of black smoke whilst on route to the call. They arrived on scene within five minutes to be met with a large developing fire to the rear of QPS Mechanicals with the fire spreading rapidly through the building.”
Fire officials say crews wearing breathing apparatus began an immediate attack on the fire within a minute of arrival and two employees were assisted for smoke inhalation.
“Crews from CK EMS attended, began treatment and transported the two males aged 61 and 44 to Chatham hospital with smoke inhalation injuries,” fire officials say.
“In addition to controlling the fire, crews were able to protect the surrounding businesses who were in close proximity to the fire.”
Assistance was called due to the size of the fire and over 20 firefighters and chief officers were on scene.
“The fire was brought under control and operations (were) continuing to deal with hot spots and fire spread,” fire officials stated.
“There has been a partial collapse of the structure but no further injuries reported at this time. Two pumpers, an aerial ladder and the command unit (were) on scene.”
In addition to the support from EMS, teams from Chatham-Kent Police, Entegrus and Enbridge were on scene, fire officials say.
“Chatham-Kent Economic Development Officers (were) on scene to assist and support the business owners,” fire officials say.
During the operation, CK Fire continued to respond to calls.
The Office of the Fire Marshal and the Ministry of Labour have both been informed.
There are no details on a cause or investigation at this time, fire officials stated.
“Our teams were on scene very quickly to attack this rapidly developing fire and they prevented the spread to other businesses,” stated Chris Case, Operations Chief, in a media release.
“As well as working with our EMS colleagues to help the two people injured we engaged the help of our Economic Development department to come directly to scene and support the business owner during this challenging time.”
Case added: “This incident has been a joint effort by a large number of officers and teams and demonstrates once again the commitment all agencies have to protect lives and livelihoods.”
Fire officials say “this will be a protracted incident” and fire operations will continue and may do for some time.
“We would ask the public to avoid the area at this time,” fire officials stated.
QPS thanked the emergency officials following the blaze.
“Its a sad day for the QPS family, we had an unfortunate accident which resulted in a fire at our shop,” company officials posted on social media.
“Fortunately everyone got out ok and no one was severely injured. We would like to first thank the Chatham Kent Fire department, CK EMS and CKPD & OPP for their quick and professional response. These men and woman did an astounding job without a single delay.”
QPS officials added: “Also CK Economic development for their support and also big thanks to our neighbors who didn’t hesitate to step in and help us out. Special thanks to Frank Dejong, Andrew McGregor, Thames communication and Paul Davis for their immediate help. Thanks to all our employees and the community of Chatham Kent for all the incoming support.”
QPS officials say they have already put into place their contingency plan for such incidents
“Our operations will remain unaffected,” company officials stated.
“We love this place, this was our home, but we have our family and our customers. So rest assured as we rebuild, we will continue our dedication to quality, service and price for our family and yours.”
Here are some more comments, photos and videos from the fire:
Firefighters from station #1 & #2 responding to a structure fire at QPS MECHANICAL just off of Sass Rd. Please avoid the area. Heavy smoke. pic.twitter.com/TFzvkNCD8e
— Chatham-Kent Fire (@ckfiredept) October 9, 2019
Great team work by @ckfiredept @CK_EMS @CKPSMedia @CKEcDev @RodHetherington @seekayone and other partners to ensure the safety of responders, employees, neighboring businesses, and the general public. Unfortunately I’m not in CK today but great collaborative leadership by my team https://t.co/CJvBqjJaC9
— Donald MacLellan (@GMMacLellan) October 9, 2019
The OFM has been notified, as fire operations continue at QPS Mechanical in Chatham. pic.twitter.com/Nv67bXeW3d
— Chatham-Kent Fire (@ckfiredept) October 9, 2019
I just want to say thanks to all the firefighters, paramedics, Ec Dev and others who worked hard today. My sincere thoughts tonight are with the businesses, employees, owners, and CK staff involved today. @CKEcDev @ckfiredept @GMMacLellan @CAOdonCK @DarrinCanniff https://t.co/ogr8aFCq4Y
— John Norton (@JohnChathamKent) October 10, 2019
Fire at QPS/Polowick Designs building today. pic.twitter.com/MRzC2Uv7FG
— Chatham Voice (@ChathamVoice) October 9, 2019