South Vancouver fire lights up sky overnight


A large fire on the shore of the Fraser River in South Vancouver lit up the sky early Saturday morning, sending a column of thick smoke into the air that was visible from kilometres away for those who were awake to see it.

The call came in around 3:30 a.m., according to Vancouver Fire Chief Karen Fry, who added that the fire appeared to be burning in a pile of wood recycling at a sawmill.

On Twitter, Fry gave the location of the blaze as “Ontario Street and the Fraser River.” She said crews had activated a third alarm for the fire, and the Vancouver Fire Rescue Services fire boat had also responded.

There were no reported injuries as of 8 a.m., Fry said, adding that crews would likely remain in the area for several hours.


The fire chief warned of “lots of heavy smoke” in Vancouver’s River District neighbourhood, and advised people living near the blaze to keep their windows closed and avoid working or exercising in the smoke.

“Any smoke is dangerous, especially to those with respiratory issues,” Fry wrote on Twitter.

As Saturday went on, smoke lingered in the air over South Vancouver and parts of other Metro Vancouver municipalities. This, combined with smoke from wildfires near Hope and Manning Park, prompted an air quality advisory from Metro Vancouver. 

The regional governing body said an “inversion” is trapping smoke from the South Vancouver fire near the ground, and added that high concentrations of fine particulate matter are expected to persist through the weekend.

“Smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds and temperatures change, and as wildfire behaviour changes,” Metro Vancouver said in a statement.

Vancouver firefighters work amid the smoke coming off a fire at a wood recycling facility in South Vancouver on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. (CTV)


Saturday’s fire followed a busy Friday that saw crews respond to two simultaneous fires in and around the Downtown Eastside.

The first fire, at 218 Keefer St. in Chinatown, broke out around noon. Thirty-nine residents were displaced in that incident. 

While firefighters were dealing with the Keefer Street blaze, they were also called to 6 East Hastings St. for another fire. 



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