UPDATE: 9:55 p.m. — The fire is under control, the City of Port Coquitlam tweeted. Any evacuees outside of the 800-metre radius set earlier are allowed to return home. However Lougheed Highway remains closed both ways between Shaughnessy Street and the Oxford Connector. All residential evacuations have been rescinded.
Fire and ambulance personnel attended a major fire at the Canadian Pacific (CP) railyard close to Lougheed Highway and Shaughnessy in Port Coquitlam on Monday night.
Various tweets showed an inferno-like scene as flames stretched into the sky.
The City of Port Coquitlam tweeted that fire crews were at the rail yards to attend to a fire.
The city later confirmed that a tanker truck that was carrying ethanol gas hit a CP Railcar, causing the fire, which also spread to a rail shed, increasing concerns about materials on site.
The tanker truck hit the train at about 6:40 p.m., CP said in a statement.
RCMP learned about the incident just before 7 p.m.
Lougheed Highway has been closed from Shaughnessy Street to the Oxford Connector and it will be “some time” before it’s reopened, said RCMP Cpl. Michael McLaughlin.
“In terms of the investigation it’s obviously very early and the fire is very hot,” he said.
“No arrests have been made, it’s too early to say if there has been any criminality or any culpability involved.
“We are going to determine that as soon as we can, but our first priority has to be safety.”
The truck driver and the CP crew were all safe, and no injuries were reported.
The RCMP evacuated the area with an 800-metre radius.
CP Rail confirmed that no toxic materials were being carried.
The city warned people to avoid the area.
Various people in the area described hearing an explosion.
One Twitter user described hearing a train honking, then a loud bang, followed by two small bangs and then sirens.
The PoCo Inn and Suites Hotel and Conference Centre and a Starbucks were among the businesses that were evacuated.
A person at a Starbucks at Oxford and Lougheed heard police using a megaphone and telling people that they had to leave an area that covered a four-block radius.
Here are some photos and video of the fire: