An investigation is underway into the cause of a dangerous fire that engulfed four oil lease sites in the County of Minburn, prompting emergency response efforts on Tuesday afternoon.
Emergency crews rushed to extinguish the blaze, which erupted at four crude oil tanks located 23 kilometers south of Mannville, emitting toxic chemicals into the air. An air quality alert was issued, urging residents to avoid the area as a precaution. Collaborative efforts between the Minburn County Fire Department and emergency response teams from the County of Vermillion River, the Town of Wainwright, the Town of Vegreville, and the Village of Irma were pivotal in containing and extinguishing the fire.
Firefighters initiated defensive cooling of unaffected oil tanks while awaiting the arrival of private contractors. Once on scene, private water haulers were mobilized to support the water shuttle, facilitating the implementation of a suppression plan that ultimately controlled the fire by 9 pm.
“We are grateful for the diligent efforts of emergency responders in successfully containing and extinguishing the fire,” stated Pat Podoborozny, Chief Administrative of the County of Minburn, in a press release. “Now, in collaboration with the Alberta Energy Regulator and the lease site owners, we are focused on the cleanup phase to ensure the community’s safety and the preservation of our environment.”
The Alberta Energy Regulator oversees the remediation and cleanup efforts of the lease site owners in accordance with their regulatory responsibilities.
The Minburn County Fire Department deployed two engines, two tenders, one wildland unit, and a command unit in response to the fire. Crews successfully evacuated personnel from the lease site and established a staging area for operations.
The county disclosed that the lease site owner informed the county Fire Chief that suppression specialists were dispatched from Blackfalds, prompting authorities to seek mutual aid.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported from the incident.