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Devastating fire hits Symons Valley Ranch farmers market

The fire raged for hours and officials say part of the problem was a venting gas line

Concerns about a big volume of smoke from an early-morning fire at a Calgary landmark led to dozens of people being asked to leave their nearby homes because of air-quality concerns.

Emergency officials say the Symons Valley Ranch farmers market was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at the northwest location around 6:00 a.m., prompting a call for additional trucks and personnel.

The fire raged for hours and officials say part of the problem was a venting gas line.

Authorities say there was no risk of damage to nearby homes, but the smoke led to area residents being asked to stay indoors, while about 40 people were ordered to leave the neighbourhood until the situation improved.

There are no reports of injuries.

More than 100 First Student Canada school buses stored at the site were not damaged, but parents were warned that transportation to classes would be delayed due to the fire.

Stu Laird, the Calgary Fire Department's battalion chief, says crews had trouble getting started on fighting the blaze.

"We did have some issues with securing a water supply at the scene. There's just not a lot of fire hydrants out here,'' he said Thursday.

A statement issued by Symons Valley Ranch on its Facebook page called the fire devastating.

"The impact of this fire will be felt by many local small businesses that operate inside our market,'' said the statement.

This is the second major fire at Symons Valley Ranch, which was built in 1968. A blaze destroyed three banquet halls in 1989.

The market building on the property was constructed in 2013.

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