Crews battled a massive blaze Wednesday morning (Nov. 17) at Fraserway RV’s holding centre in Abbotsford.
Hundreds of RVs were on fire at the site near the flooded Highway 1, just east of Whatcom Road. Plumes of thick black toxic smoke could be seen from miles away, with fire crews being hampered from getting closer to the scene due to flooding in the area.
Video taken by Black Press Media shows loud continuous bangs coming from the area.
Fire Chief Darren Lee said the fire was located under transmission power lines, and that posed a “pretty significant hazard.”
“They (fire crews) are being very mindful of the power lines. They’re working with BC Hydro to make sure we protect all the responders because if you have enough smoke, the actual transmission lines can go to ground through the smoke particulate,” he said.
“So they’re managing that and they’re protecting one major exposure on the west side of the incident, which is a propane filling station.”
Lee said about 40 personnel were on site battling the blaze from as close as they can get in the flooded areas.
“One of the tough things was, we had access to site, with the water receding, which was great. But the amount of water in the ditches, it was really challenging,” noted Lee.
He added the crews used ladder trucks to get across the ditches, and stretched hoses to get the fire knocked down.
Fire crews from the Township of Langley and Mission helped to fight the fire. Lee said the fire was on Sumas First Nation property and the investigation has been turned over to RCMP.
Mayor Henry Braun asked residents nearby to shut their doors and windows and turn off air-conditioning systems to avoid breathing in the smoke.
The air quality impact has since been reduced, and crews were cleaning up hotspots Wednesday afternoon.
The area is currently under an evacuation order due to the ongoing flooding.