Four-Alarm Chemical Fire Shuts Port Metro Vancouver – Update

Smoke from a fire rises at the Port Metro Vancouver, British Columbia March 4, 2015. REUTERS/Ben Nelms
Smoke from a fire rises at the Port Metro Vancouver, British Columbia March 4, 2015. REUTERS/Ben Nelms

Update: The fire was brought under control as of 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, Port Metro Vancouver said in a update. The update said that smoke continued to diminish and the “shelter in place” order had been lifted, but the public is still encouraged to stay away from the area.

Previous: A four-alarm chemical fire broke out at Port Metro Vancouver Wednesday afternoon, sending hazardous smoke into the air and causing evacuations and warnings to people in the area to stay indoors.

The fire broke out at approximately 1:40 p.m. inside a container at the Port’s Centerm Container Terminal on the south shore of Burrard Inlet. Vancouver Coastal Health confirmed the material inside is a hazardous organic compound, trichloroisocyanuric acid, which can cause eye and skin irritation.

The fire is reported to have spread to at least two other containers at the terminal, according to the Vancouver Fire Department.

Vancouver Coastal Health warned that people experiencing wheezing or difficulty breathing, especially people lung problems, should seek medical attention.

The fire forced the shut down of all operations on the Port’s south shore, Port Metro Vancouver tweeted.

The Centerm Container Terminal is operated DP World Vancouver.

A statement from Port Metro Vancouver said:

Our primary concern is the safety of first responders, the public and all port workers. The Centerm container terminal and nearby port properties have been evacuated. All port operations along the south shore of Burrard Inlet have been shut down, including rail and truck access. Vancouver Fire and Vancouver Coastal Health are on-site and actively determining if any additional evacuations are required. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide further information as it becomes available.

An update posted to Twitter at 1750 PST by Port Metro Vancouver said that Vancouver Fire and Rescue has lifted the “shelter in place” order.