Upwards of 50 ducks affected by chemicals from Friday’s industrial fire in Etobicoke

Toronto Wildlife officials say upwards of 50 ducks may have been affected as a result of chemicals leaking into a creek following a massive fire at an industrial plant on Friday.

More than 100 firefighters responded to an explosion just after 1 a.m. at the Brenntag Canada chemical storage facility on Vulcan Street near Martin Grove Road and Belfield Road. The six-alarm blaze sent flames and plumes of dark smoke shooting into the air, forcing businesses in the nearby area to evacuate while residents were asked to stay indoors with their windows shut.

Fire officials confirmed that a number of petroleum-based products were burning, primarily motor oil, but that they managed to contain the blaze and keep it away from more hazardous chemicals that were stored within the facility.

Given the nature of the chemicals stored at the site, concern immediately shifted to potential health and environmental threats. Toronto Water and the Ministry of the Environment were on the scene conducting tests to determine if any toxins had run off into the sewers and into the water system.

Etobicoke resident Craig Strathy told CityNews he noticed a change in the colour and consistency of Mimico Creek, which runs through the Royal Woodbine Golf Course which is almost five kilometres south of where the industrial fire occurred.

Strathy said he notice a number of Mallard ducks which appeared to be covered in sludge, adding he called the Toronto Wildlife Centre for their assistance.

Mallard duck covered in sludge

One of many mallard ducks treated by Toronto Wildlife Centre who became covered in the chemical sludge that spilled into Mimico Creek from an industrial fire on Friday. TWITTER/Toronto Wildlife Centre

Wildlife Centre rescue teams were on the scene at the creek on Saturday to assist wildlife impacted bythe presence of chemicals in the water, telling CityNews between 40 and 50 ducks may have been affected by the spill but did not elaborate on their condition.

“We are definitely aware of the spill and had a team there already yesterday evening,” they said in a statement.

The Office of the Fire Marshal, meanwhile, has been called in to investigate the origin and cause of the blaze at the chemical facility.

Files from Lucas Casaletto and Hayley McGoldrick were used in this report

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