Flames tore through a steel plant in Transcona, forcing workers out of the factory and out of a job.

The blaze began just before midnight Friday morning at Griffin Wheel Works in a second-storey storage room. Flames shot through the roof of the plant and explosions could be heard inside.

Luckily, the 30 to 40 people on shift escaped unharmed.

Because of the damage, the plant has been temporarily shut down. A total of 172 workers could be laid off until things are up and running again. It might be a while before the plant is fully operational.

Fire officials said the east third of the factory, which made steel wheels for rail cars, is destroyed.

Workers came to the plant in the aftermath, looking for any indication of when they might be able to return.

“We need money to survive, right?” said employee Jamie Blandford. “We could be up and running on Monday or it could be a week or two weeks or two months. Nobody knows right now.”

Cause and damage estimates are not yet known.