More than 70 firefighters are battling a blaze at Schnitzer Steel Canada’s facility near Nanaimo Airport, according to the Cowichan Valley Regional District. (Chris Bush/Black Press)

More than 70 firefighters are battling a blaze at Schnitzer Steel Canada’s facility near Nanaimo Airport, according to the Cowichan Valley Regional District. (Chris Bush/Black Press)

UPDATE: Crews have contained spread of fire near Nanaimo Airport

Approximately 50 firefighters battling blaze at Schnitzer Steel Canada site in Cassidy

UPDATE: The spread of the fire near Nanaimo Airport has been contained, says the regional district there.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District advised in a press release Thursday evening that the fire in the North Oyster district has been contained, with groundwater contamination remaining a threat at surrounding properties.

The CVRD says there are about 50 firefighters from eight departments still at the scene at Schnitzer Steel Canada near the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Cedar Road.

“Fire crews are presently gaining control of the fire that is being fuelled by contaminated material, including a tire pile that continues to burn down,” the release notes. “The threat of the fire exposure to adjacent properties and structures is lessening as wind speed and direction have improved favourably since the fire began.”

Emergency Management B.C. noted in a report that fire suppression water run-off may impact Thomas Creek and that officers from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy were on scene and an environmental health officer from Island Health also attended. The First Nations Health Authority was also notified.

“The recycling facility owner, Schnitzer Steel Industries, has contracted qualified professionals to help address the environmental response, any potential contamination from fire suppression water and to monitor the air quality,” the report noted.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED: While fire crews from a number of jurisdictions battle a fire at a scrapyard near Nanaimo Airport on central Vancouver Island, officials are anticipating water quality concerns.

Crews responded to a fire at the Schnitzer Steel Canada site the morning of Sept. 10, in Cassidy, off the Trans-Canada Highway, with officials stating the fire is being fueled by car parts, plastics and tires. According to a Cowichan Valley Regional District press release, the fire is anticipated to spread to a neighbouring private property, with imminent evacuations of the immediate area.

“Groundwater contamination as a result of the fire is a significant concern and highly likely based on current assessments from crews on the ground,” said the press release. “Representatives from the B.C. Ministry of Environment are on scene, as are those from Vancouver Island Health Authority. The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations groundwater monitoring department has been alerted, and it is anticipated that VIHA will issue a boil water order for properties in the area.

“Air quality is also a concern given the contaminated material ablaze, and the public is advised to avoid the area if at all possible.”

The CVRD has activated its emergency operations centre at Level 1, said the press release, and further updates will be posted at www.cvrd.bc.ca and the Cowichan Valley Regional District Facebook page.

RELATED: Fire crews on scene at scrapyard near Nanaimo Airport



editor@ladysmithchronicle.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

emergency declaration

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Parksville Golden Oldies Sports Association’s popular walking soccer league was one of several sports programs and activities that were cancelled following provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s latest announcement to ban indoor adult team sports. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Parksville Qualicum Beach sports groups frustrated by ban

Provincial health directive discourages indoor sports

371 Alberni Highway, Parksville, where the Quality Foods is currently under construction. In January 2021, 87 new affordable homes will start construction nearby. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Provincial government in support of 87 affordable housing units in Parksville

Construction at Alberni Highway address slated to start in January 2021

The Parksville Community Centre. (PQB News file photo)
City of Parksville offers update on closure of community centre

‘Increasing operating costs and annual subsidies provided by the city have been a concern’

(Black Press file)
RDN strengthens security after being alerted to publicly accessible property ownership information

Regional District of Nanaimo investigates, reports to privacy commissioner after anonymous e-mails

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo dismantles downtown homeless encampment after fire

Four to six tents burned up in Wesley Street fire Thursday, Dec. 3

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Most Read