British Columbia

North Vancouver fire crews battle pellet plant fire near grain elevators

Crews spent hours working on a fire in a grain facility on North Vancouver's waterfront Wednesday night.

Blaze was 'very difficult' to reach in the grain facility near Lonsdale Quay, say fire officials

A fire deep inside a North Vancouver grain facility sent smoke billowing into the air on Wednesday night. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

A grain facility fire that burned for several hours overnight along the North Vancouver waterfront started in the cooling fan of a pellet plant, according to the company that operates the terminal. 

Jean-Marc Ruest, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Richardson International says the cause remains unclear.

"We're still investigating. At this point in time, it originated in a cooling fan so whether the fan was overheating as a result of operation, we're still looking into the details of that."

Crews spent hours working on the blaze at the North Vancouver terminal which handles grain and loads vessels for export.

Ruest says the fire started in the area where screenings of grain are transformed into pellets — not the huge silos of stored grain. Most of the damage done was from fire fighting efforts, he says.

"The main operations of our plant ... will resume shortly this morning.The pelletizing functions of the plant will be suspended until we investigate the extent of th damage and do some clean up."

North Vancouver City Fire Chief Dan Pistilli said firefighters had a very difficult time getting access to the flames.

Smoke could be seen billowing out of various metal ducts and pipes.

A little after midnight, firefighters had the fire knocked down, but they were kept busy rooting out hot spots into the early hours of Thursday morning. 

North Vancouver City Fire Chief Dan Pistilli speaks with representatives of Richardson International Ltd. outside a grain elevator in North Vancouver. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

North Vancouver District fire crews were called to support the North Vancouver City firefighters.

At least two firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics with B.C. Ambulance.

Two firefighters are treated for smoke inhalation by B.C. Ambulance paramedics, after a fire at a North Vancouver grain facility. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

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