Crews were called in before 6 p.m. and found heavy fire out on the outside of the building, snaking up the south side. The fire centred on one of the electrical transformers on the side of the building.
“All the workers and staff are accounted for and out of the building,” Claudio Mostacci, fire department spokesman said. About 100 workers were evacuated onto three transit buses parked outside.
One firefighter's hand was injured fighting the blaze and that firefighter has gone to the hospital, Mostacci said.
Paramedics responded to a call from someone outside the factory location shortly before the fire broke out. Paramedics transported a patient from the location in "serious but stable condition," but it's not known at this time if that call was in any way connected to the fire, said Hamilton Paramedic Service deputy chief Russ Crocker. The patient was not a Canada Bread employee, Mostacci said.
A wind warning has been issued for the city of Hamilton, warning of gusts throughout the city. Mostacci couldn't say if the winds played any role in the beginning of the fire.
Canada Bread executives expected the factory to be down at least 12 hours while they evaluate the scope of the damage, Mostacci said.
Mostacci said it was too early to say what caused the fire or what the damage estimate will be.
The $100-million Canada bread facility in Hamilton is touted as Canada’s largest bakery plant. Maple Leaf Foods opened the state-of-the-art bakery in 2010. Maple Leaf's decision to build the plant here was a major economic development catch for the city.
Full operation at the plant only started last year. It has over 300 full time workers. Earlier this year, Maple Leaf sold its share in Canada Bread to Mexican-based Grupo Bimbo.