Structure fire in Abbotsford, B.C., leads to warning of potential toxic smoke
A structure fire in Abbotsford, B.C., may be causing toxic smoke, leading to a warning for residents in some areas to stay inside.
The Abbotsford Police Department posted on social media at about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday saying it was aware of a large fire near Sumas Mountain Road and North Parallel Road. The department said the fire was at an RV dealership and was blowing large plumes of smoke northwest.
"Residents in the area … of the blowing smoke are encouraged to stay indoors due to the potential of the smoke being toxic," the notice said.
In a morning update on the ongoing flooding situation in the city, Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service Chief Darren Lee said about 100 vehicles are on fire and crews are concerned about nearby power lines.
"They're working with BC Hydro to make sure we protect all the responders because if you have enough smoke the transmission lines can go to ground," he said, saying it's "not an ideal place" to be fighting a fire.
Crews are also protecting exposure to a nearby propane filling station.
"There's quite an amount of smoke that's pushing generally west and we just ask that people protect themselves from that toxic smoke that's coming off," Lee said. "If there's smoke in your neighbourhood keep windows and doors closed."
The situation in Abbotsford is already extreme, with dozens of people requiring rescue from the flooded Sumas Prairie area, which is under evacuation order. The city warned of further "catastrophic" flooding if the Barrowtown Pump Station, which was nearly overwhelmed Tuesday night, couldn't keep up. Crews were able to build a dam to protect the station overnight, however, and its working at full capacity.
The Barrowtown Pump Station is about 10 kilometres away from the site of the fire.