August 10, 2018 9:50 am
Updated: August 10, 2018 9:56 pm

Fire breaks out on barge at industrial site in Surrey sending toxic smoke into the air

WATCH: A fire is raging at an industrial area in Surrey Friday morning, sending a massive plume of black smoke hundreds of feet into the air.

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A fire is now under control at an industrial area in Surrey on Friday.

The fire broke out around 5 a.m. on a barge carrying scrap metal in the Bridgeview neighbourhood, near Musqueam Drive and 116th Street, near the Pattullo Bridge.

The blaze sent a large plume of black, acrid smoke across the region.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver issues air quality advisory due to Surrey barge fire smoke

Surrey Fire Service was quick to respond to the blaze with six trucks and crews but with the barge being so big, the flames were tough to fight.

“That made this really difficult for us because the barge is probably about 250 feet in length and the fire was burning in the middle of it,” said Dep. Chief John Lehmann with the Surrey Fire Service. “Given our crews could only access it from the ramp, we were really only able to get water on to the front portion of the barge.”

WATCH: Vulnerable people are being warned to stay indoors today after the barge fire made the already bad air quality even worse. 

The barge is owned by Schnitzer Steel recycling.

Four hours after the first flare-up a fire boat was brought in from Vancouver.

“It did take a while to get the boat because they come from that inner harbour Vancouver area,” Lehmann said. “We were able to get water on to the far end of the barge and it’s starting to make a difference.”

WATCH: Surrey barge fire captured on time lapse video


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Vancouver’s Port Authority spokesperson Danielle Jang said firefighters are still checking for hot spots.

“At this point it looks like, for the most part, the fire is out but they have to remove the product so they can get to the middle of the barge so they can see.”

Residents across Metro Vancouver say they can smell smoke Friday morning and there’s a strong smell of rubber in the air.

Metro Vancouver issued an air quality advisory on Friday related to the fire, and is warning residents if they encounter smoke to seek shelter inside, close windows and doors and reduce indoor pollution sources.

WATCH: What you should know when there is an air quality alert

“If people are experiencing smoke, if they can see smoke, if they can smell smoke in their neighbourhood, they should really be staying indoors and closing their doors and windows until the smoke passes,” said Julie Saxton, an air quality planner with Metro Vancouver.

As for the potential impact to marine life, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be working with other agencies to assess the situation once the fire is out and will take any necessary management action at that time.

PHOTOS: Aerial shots of the barge fire in Surrey:

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