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Crews lifting deck where New Westminster pier fire still smoulders

Click to play video 'Iconic New Westminster pier could continue to burn for days' Iconic New Westminster pier could continue to burn for days
The fire that tore through the New Westminster Pier Park Sunday night is expected to keep burning for days. John Hua reports.

Firefighters continue to deal with a fire that ripped through Westminster Pier Park on Sunday.

That fire is still burning in the creosote pilings and decking that make up some three acres of the pier structure. Much of that area is undercover and work is ongoing to punch through the decking to allow firefighters to spray down hotspots.

“The area scorched is about three acres in size and is fully involved underneath the decking of the pier,” Tim Armstrong, fire chief and incident commander for New Westminster Fire & Rescue Services, said Tuesday.

“Crews are working phenomenally hard, long hours under adverse conditions.”

Click to play video 'Massive fire engulfs New Westminster’s Pier Park' Massive fire engulfs New Westminster’s Pier Park
Massive fire engulfs New Westminster’s Pier Park

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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Read more: Huge fire likely ‘completely destroyed’ section of New Westminster’s Pier Park: mayor

“It’s going to be a long, slow process and probably [will take] weeks,” Armstrong said.

About 25 firefighters are working to suppress the fire with a number of contractors on-site as well.

Click to play video 'New Westminster mayor vows to rebuild after massive Pier Park fire' New Westminster mayor vows to rebuild after massive Pier Park fire
New Westminster mayor vows to rebuild after massive Pier Park fire

Residents are asked to avoid the area as air quality, which has already been impacted by wildfires south of the border, is very poor.

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“At this time, we are advising people, particularly those who have chronic underlying health conditions or acute infections to refrain from participating in any outdoor physical activity, and to remain indoors as much as possible while still ensuring they maintain adequate physical distancing,” Fraser Health medical health officer Dr. Aamir Bharmal said.

The pilings are covered by creosote and health officials said Tuesday that short-term exposure to creosote could cause respiratory irritation.

Westminster Pier Park is a 600-metre boardwalk along a stretch of reclaimed waterfront between the Fraser River and Front Street. It was built in 2009 at a cost of about $24 million.

– With files from Jon Azpiri