Red Deer, AB, Canada – Sprinkler system activated for fire at tire store; No injuries reported

Red Deer Emergency Services (RDES) are currently investigating a fire that took place Wednesday night at the north-end Canadian Tire store.

Curtis Schaefer, Assistant Deputy Chief for the City’s RDES, says the call came in at around 8:30 p.m. on April 5.

A total of 19 firefighters were on scene with three fire engines, a ladder, a command vehicle and an ambulance.

When crews arrived, he says smoke wasn’t seen escaping the building (6380 -50 Ave) but firefighters were able to see smoke inside the store from the front doors. He says crews got in quickly and found the seat of the fire, its origin, in the seasonal section of the store.

Making their initial fire attack, Schaefer says crews went back out to bring more hose lines but the fire grew, activating the sprinkler system. While the sprinklers controlled the fire from spreading, he says crews ventilated the building to ensure there was no other damage or fire going on in the building at the same time, before knocking out the fire completely.

“With the combination of the fire and the sprinklers, the entire building became full of smoke,” he said. “Once the fire was out completely and the sprinklers were shut off, the time was spent ventilating the building. It’s a very large structure with a large amount of smoke in it.”

Crews were on scene for approximately four hours, he says.

The cause of the fire is under investigation but Schaefer says the belief is that it may be suspicious, leading RCMP to assist them Thursday morning.

As the store’s closing hour was 9 p.m., he says all employees and customers were successfully evacuated when fire crews came on scene. No injuries were reported.

No damage was caused to other properties and the fire was contained to just the store’s seasonal area, but Schaefer says water and smoke damage spread across the entirety of the Canadian Tire.

“When we have fires inside large commercial buildings like this, the challenge is just the size. It’s difficult for our crews to get access to the seat of the fire and basically the size of the building and the amount of material in the building can cause challenges for our crews to get to the seat of the fire and put it out quickly,” he said.

Investigators and a property restoration company were on scene Thursday morning.