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Hot spots re-ignite the day after massive industrial fire in Metro Vancouver

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A massive industrial fire that sent black smoke billowing over Metro Vancouver on Thursday evening flared up again the following morning, delaying efforts to determine the cause of the blaze.

Authorities said the fire was reported at a small warehouse near the River Rock Casino in Richmond around 8 p.m., then spread to a wooden trestle bridge over the Fraser River.

At the height of the fire, drivers crossing the nearby Oak Street Bridge had to navigate through thick clouds of dark smoke, which could be seen from across the region and prompted an air quality advisory.

Richmond Fire Chief Jim Wishlove said crews worked tirelessly throughout the night to extinguish the flames, and were still dousing the smoldering remains when a number of hot spots re-ignited Friday morning.

Once the fire is fully out, work investigating the cause can begin.

"We don't know for sure where it started," Wishlove told reporters Friday. "Today and for the next several days, there's going to be a lot of heavy lifting by our fire investigation folks and other community partners."

Firefighters from Richmond battled the fire with assistance from Vancouver Fire Rescue's fire boat, working non-stop until around 5:30 a.m., but faced several challenges due to the time of day and the location.

"Obviously at night there's an access issue," Wishlove said. "It's dark, it's dangerous, it's close to the water – and the fire was burning very hot."

The wooden bridge was also likely "soaked in chemicals" that fueled the flames, the chief said.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the blaze.

Metro Vancouver's air quality advisory was lifted Friday, but the regional district said residents could still expect to experience "hazy conditions" and "the smell of residual smoke" in some areas.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Todd Coyne and Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi

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