A powerful explosion at a Mississauga warehouse came without warning on Wednesday morning, injuring a group of firefighters who were trying to make their way inside.
It was just after 4:30 a.m. ET when firefighters were alerted to the fire at an industrial warehouse located at 2797 Thamesgate Dr., just north of Toronto Pearson International Airport.
As the first firefighters on the scene attempted to enter the building, a large explosion caused a wall to collapse, briefly trapping them inside.
Mississaugaâ€™s deputy fire chief, Greg Laing, told reporters that the responding fire crews were not aware that the building contained explosive materials.
“Normally, fires progress in a certain way and that one did not,” Laing said Wednesday afternoon.
“That one went from a building and contents fire emitting smoke, to an instantaneous destruction of the entire building, which we normally only associate with an explosive device that would do something like that.”
Peel Regional Police Const. Thomas Ruttan said Wednesday that the warehouse is a storage facility for imported goods that included butane lighters and aerosol cans of insect spray, which appear to be the cause of the explosion.
Four firefighters were injured. At least three of those firefighters were taken to hospital. One was treated for smoke inhalation.
The explosion also blew out the windows of a fire truck. The heat melted parts of its exterior.
“We are incredibly fortunate that nobody was killed,” Laing said.
The most seriously injured firefighter was reported to be in critical condition when initially taken to hospital.
Fire officials offered conflicting information on his status as of late Wednesday afternoon â€” Laing said he had been informed that individual was in serious, stable condition, while Fire Chief John McDougall said he remained critical.
“They are improving, thereâ€™s two or three of them that are undergoing surgery and some need more surgery but they seem to be stable,” McDougall told reporters.
“The most serious one is reported to me as being critical, but stable. So, weâ€™re hoping that improves over the next few hours.”
Those firefighters suffered “blast injuries,” as opposed to burns, McDougall said.