Operations Resume at Port Metro Vancouver After Chemical Fire

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

Port Metro Vancouver was mostly re-opened Thursday after a chemical fire broke out in a container Wednesday afternoon at a terminal at the port’s south shore.

Port Metro Vancouver updated that as of Thursday morning, all port operations have resumed with the exception of the the Centerm Container Terminal, where the burning container was located.

The fire broke out at approximately 1:40 p.m. Wednesday inside a container carrying the industrial disinfectant trichloroisocyanuric acid, sending hazardous smoke into the air and nearby communities, including Vancouver’s downtown area.

The four-alarm fire caused evacuations and the shut down of all facilities on the south shore of Burrard Inlet and a “shelter in place” order that was lifted Wednesday evening.

The fire has since been isolated to the single container, but was still smoldering as of 9 a.m. PST. A 100 meter exclusion zone remains in place around the container, Port Metro Vancouver reported.

“The events of yesterday demonstrated the coordinated response efforts of all agencies involved, something that is rehearsed regularly in training exercises,” the port said in a statement. “We would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation to all the first responders along with all partner agencies and our staff who worked tirelessly to control the situation from the moment it occurred right through the evening and overnight, and who continue to manage a coordinated response.”

The Centerm Container Terminal is one of four container terminals in at Port Metro Vancouver and is operated by DP World Ltd.

Port Metro Vancouver is the largest and busiest port in Canada and the fourth largest in North America by tonnage. In 2013, the port handled 135 million tonnes of cargo, mostly serving Canadian import and export markets.