British Columbia

Fire at Surrey dump fills neighbourhood with nasty smoke

Garbage inside the Metro Vancouver Surrey Transfer Station caught fire late Saturday night, and required more than 20 firefighters to get it extinguished.

Garbage fire wasn't very big, but fire crews struggled to see anything in thick smoke

Thick smoke begins to clear inside the Surrey Transfer Station, after a second alarm garbage fire on Saturday night. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Garbage inside the Metro Vancouver Surrey Transfer Station caught fire late Saturday night, and required more than 20 firefighters to get the flames extinguished. 

The entire area around the transfer station in the Port Kells part of Surrey, B.C., was filled with nasty smoke from the burning garbage.

Luckily, the station was closed, and nobody was hurt.

Surrey Fire Battalion Chief Gary McHarg said the fire triggered automatic alarms, just after midnight.

"When the first crew arrived, they actually had smoke and flames visible through the doors, so they upgraded it to a structure fire," he said.

McHarg added that it was upgraded again to a second alarm fire due to the size of the building and the difficulty accessing the source of the flames in the garbage.

Surrey firefighters struggled to access the burning garbage, as thick smoke filled the inside of the transfer station. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

"Our biggest problem, obviously, was with the smoke that was generated — it made visibility actually zero. So it was very hard to find the actual seed of the fire," he said. 

"They could see the flames at one point, and then once they had a partial knock-down, it just became really smokey."

Firefighters used the hose as a lifeline, keeping one foot in contact with it, so they wouldn't get lost in the thick smoke.

One firefighter said he was up to his hips in liquid and garbage, as he waded through the mess toward the fire.

McHarg said officials see a couple of similar fires in Metro Vancouver each year.

"It's just a matter of the products being mixed together, and they'll generate their own heat, and can, in most cases, start on their own," said McHarg. 

"We've got no belief, at this point, of it being suspicious in any way."

The Metro Vancouver Surrey Transfer Station is operated by Wastech.

Surrey firefighters work to get a fire put out inside a transfer station on Saturday night. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

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