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Massive fire breaks out at New Westminster pier

Last Updated Sep 24, 2020 at 7:03 pm PDT

(Courtesy Twitter/paulromein)

A fire broke out at Pier Park Sunday evening sending plumes of smoke into an already smoky sky

Crews from several fire departments responded to help fight the flames

SkyTrain service resumed Monday morning

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) — A fire broke out at New Westminster’s Pier Park Sunday evening — the flames shooting into an already ashy sky, sending plumes of thick, black smoke billowing across the Fraser River.

The park spans a stretch of riverfront along Front Street, and Ashley Burr with CityNews said she first noticed it around 8:30 p.m.

“There’s a massive fire right below the Pattullo Bridge in the New Westminster Pier Park,” she explained.

“It’s absolutely horrid, the smoke is so thick you can not see past it. All you see is sharp flames.”

TransLink suspended Expo line SkyTrain service between Columbia and Scott Road stations, establishing a bus bridge for the last few hours of service Sunday. SkyTrain service resumed Monday morning.

“You can’t see the tracks right now with how thick this smoke is,” Burr added.

Front Street was closed in both directions, with drivers being advised to use Columbia Street as an alternate route.

NEWS 1130’s Bruce Claggett described the view from the Surrey side of the bridge.

“From the Surrey side and underneath the SkyTrain bridge you can actually see the black smoke just billowing up into the air,” he said.

Huge flames going about two stories high and the thing that really strikes you is the sounds of all the firefighting equipment — sirens and many emergency personnel coming to the scene trying to get this thing under control.”

Crews from New Westminster, Delta, and a boat from Vancouver were all on hand trying to fight the flames.

Although visible from the many condo and apartment buildings lining the quay, Claggett said the fire didn’t seem to be threatening any structures.

“This will be a heavily damaged area right along the pier,” he notes.

“You’ve got this black heavy smoke going into the air and it actually is such a big fire that it stretched several blocks of the New Westminster waterfront.”

A listener is one of a number of people who gathered to watch the scene unfold.

“The red ‘W’ made of shipping containers is completely surrounded in large amounts of flame, there’s about 300 feet of the entire pier completely burning from underneath,” Fraser Hewitt says.

“It is smoking from all corners, flaming from all corners.”

Other listeners began sending pictures and video around 8:30 p.m.