Delta Fire crews were at the scene of a large fire in North Delta overnight on May 27, after a blaze broke out in an industrial area across the river from Annacis Island.
The fire reportedly took place at a local recycling facility on the 9300 block of Alaska Way. The building was unoccupied when the fire broke out at 7 p.m. on May 27.
The fire department left the scene at 6:40 a.m. on May 28. Firefighters returned later that day to put out a hot spot that had flared up, and once more at 8:30 a.m. on May 29.
Delta Police report no injuries at this time and say traffic on main routes had not been impacted.
Annieville resident Megan Simpson saw the plume of smoke at 7:15 p.m. Saturday night, and drove out with her daughter to get a closer look.
“I don’t usually get in my car and follow stuff like that, but I thought that was odd, so I followed the fire,” she said. Her and her daughter drove to a cul-de-sac above Highway 17 and watched the structure fire with about 15 other residents.
Witnesses reported hearing loud “explosions” as the flames reached propane tanks and other gases located onsite, and one video posted online appears to show a large fireball shooting up through the thick black smoke.
Because of the explosions, the fire department took a defensive approach to combating the fire, spraying water at the blaze from a distance.
“It went fast,” Simpson said. “Trees started, and other buildings in that complex started. And then it got out that there was a fire and more and more people started arriving.”
Simpson said she saw people stopping to walk across Highway 17 (South Fraser Perimeter Road) to take photos of the fire. She called Delta police, who came and conducted ongoing patrols to prevent people from stopping on the highway.
DFD continuing to work hard to get fire knocked down on Alaska Way. pic.twitter.com/HvW43eoo9L
— Delta Police (@deltapolice) May 28, 2017
Smoke from the fire could be seen from a long distance away, and people came from all around to watch the fire burn. By the time Simpson went home at 8:15 p.m., there were at least 80 people watching from the cul-de-sac and at least 20 cars parked along River Road.
Ash and soot spread around Delta: Simpson found burnt debris covering her patio table Sunday morning from the fire.
— Stephen Vanspall (@StephenVanspall) May 28, 2017
Bad fire in North Delta saw mill. pic.twitter.com/B95PGuanKe
— Deborah Cahill (@ECADEB) May 28, 2017
— A Evans (@teedybeear) May 28, 2017
Delta Police say the investigation into the fire is ongoing, and the police are liasing with the Delta Port Authority and the Delta Fire Department to determine the cause of the fire.
On May 29, there were two fire investigators on site, along with four fire trucks and an excavator to help determine the cause of the blaze.
(Photos below by Gord Goble.)