Massive fire tears through mattresses, vehicles on Mitchell Island
Published Friday, June 16, 2017 2:13PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, June 16, 2017 5:58PM PDT
Firefighters were called to battle a massive blaze on Richmond's Mitchell Island for the second time this year.
Crews were dispatched to the small Fraser River island Friday afternoon after a fire broke out at a mattress recycling facility. The flames quickly engulfed several stacks of mattresses then spread to some cars on a neighbouring lot.
A witness who works nearby at Inner-City Demolition and Recycling said his co-workers first noticed the blaze around 2 p.m.
"Just hanging out with the rest of the team and someone yells fire," Aaron Henderson said. "Sure enough, we look over, the whole sky was just full of black smoke."
That huge plume of smoke could be seen from several kilometres away, including from across the river in Vancouver.
Some employees at the facility tried to put out the fire when it first started, but it spread too fast. It is not known what sparked the blaze, but fortunately, workers were able to get out quickly when it started to grow.
From the air, it appeared that the roof had collapsed, meaning the building is likely a total write-off. There is no word yet on the estimated cost of the damage caused by the fire.
At the height of the fire, Richmond Mounties warned that drivers should avoid the area if possible. Nearby on- and off-ramps on Knight Street were closed to keep traffic out of the area as crews worked to put out hot spots.
The business next door was evacuated as more than two dozen firefighters battled the blaze.
Mitchell Island, which is largely industrial, was the scene of another big fire in January when a pile of cars went up in flames at AABC Recyclers Group.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in that blaze and officials said fuel and other hazardous materials had already been removed from vehicles on the lot.
With reports from CTV Vancouver's Michele Brunoro and Ben Miljure