Fire at New Westminster pier finally extinguished
A massive fire engulfed historic park on Sept. 13; police arrested a man suspected of arson on Sept. 15
The fire at New Westminster's historic pier, started over ten days ago, has finally been extinguished, according to city officials and the New Westminster Fire Department.
Fire Chief Tim Armstrong said crews have been working tirelessly to contain the fire which broke out in the timber wharf section of Westminster Pier Park late in the evening of Sept. 13.
Crews were able to contain the initial fire, but supporting timber piling underneath the deck surface — treated with the coal-tar based preservative creosote — continued to smoulder for days. It was finally extinguished Thursday.
In the statement posted on the city's website, Armstrong thanked his New Westminster Fire Department crews as well as outside agencies and other city departments that supported the intense operation.
WATCH | Video of the fire that destroyed a stretch of the pier:
The city says Front Street, which has been closed to traffic as crews worked on the fire, will re-open early next week. However, it says the Front Street Parkade and portions of Westminster Pier Park will remain closed until further notice.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The major crimes unit with the New Westminster Police Department arrested one man under suspicion of arson on Sept. 15.
Damage from the fire led to the removal of the Wow Westminster installation — a huge piece of public art comprising four shipping containers shaped into a "W" — as the timber structure that supports the piece was compromised. The art piece has been dismantled and removed from the site as clean-up and remediation take place.
The historic pier is part of New Westminster's chief waterfront recreational attraction, which opened to much praise in 2012. It included an urban beach where people could play volleyball, lounge in hammocks or walk the 600 metre-long boardwalk.