Trichloroisocyanuric acid fire still smoking at Port Metro Vancouver

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      The container fire at Port Metro Vancouver, which led to authorities warning people in the northeastern part of the city to stay indoors or hold a wet towel over their nose and mouth, was still burning as of this morning (March 5).

      "Crews from Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services worked throughout the night to suppress and monitor the fire burning in a shipping container at the Centerm Container Terminal on the south shore of Burrard Inlet. Fire officials have isolated the fire and continue to monitor the container," reads a statement issued by the port.

      "Our primary concern continues to be the safety of first responders, the public and all port workers. Port operations have resumed on the South Shore of Burrard inlet, with the exception of the Centerm container terminal, which remains closed, and a 100 metre exclusion zone around the burning container."

      Earlier this morning, the City of Vancouver said the fire was "about 1/3 size of yesterday". According to the city's update, 30 firefighters were on site with three aerial ladder trucks.

      Yesterday, authorities identified the burning substance as trichloroisocyanuric acid, an industrial disinfectant and respiratory irritant. A shelter-in-place order was issued for people east of Main Street and north of East 1st Avenue, and then later lifted. TransLink rerouted buses away from the area.

      This morning, the fire department tweeted: "There is still smoke in the downtown area, although greatly reduced from last night. Air quality readings are okay, it's safe to go outside."

      Update (11:30 a.m.): The City of Vancouver has issued this statement:

      Vancouver Fire and Rescue continued to manage the container fire overnight. The temperature of the container is coming down toward ambient temperature which is an indication of the reduction in combustion. There is no risk to the public at this time and the Chief has continued the all clear designation for the community. Yesterday a total of 13 people went to hospital for respiratory concerns and all were released.

      Plans are being developed to bring the situation to resolution so that operations can resume. The original cause of the fire remains undetermined and will remain so until we can open up the container for investigation. 

      The City and the Port have their EOCs activated and the Fire Chief remains ultimately accountable in overseeing the situation. Thirty firefighters are involved on site right now. Fire fighters are using full protective equipment and there is ongoing monitoring for health impacts right at the site of the fire. 

      Operations at Port of Vancouver Ballantyne pier are back to normal with the exception of a 100 meter area around the container which is still not operational. 

      The City of Vancouver is working with experts, Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health on ongoing monitoring of air quality. All air quality readings are currently at safe levels. As noted by the Fire Chief's all clear, areas most affected yesterday afternoon (north of 1st Ave and west of Nanaimo St.) are safe to go outside. However, we advise anyone who is having symptoms to stay indoors.

      Ray Cam has nurse practitioners and physicians on site and at the clinic next door to anyone needing primary care today.