Large fire breaks out near Oak Street Bridge in Richmond, BC

Thick black smoke billowed above Richmond, BC, after a fire broke out in the north of the city Thursday evening.

Richmond Fire-Rescue said crews attended an industrial building near the River Rock Casino Resort at around 9 pm PT.

“[Firefighters] arrived to see heavy smoke and flames coming out of the building,” said Grant Wyenberg, assistant deputy chief of operations with Richmond Fire-Rescue.

“They got water on it quite quickly and knocked down the fire quite quickly, but there was some extension onto the trestle bridge just to the north of there,” said Wyenberg.

WATCH | Fire burns in Richmond, BC:

Large fire in Richmond, BC, sends black smoke over Metro Vancouver

Thick black smoke billowed over Metro Vancouver after a fire broke out in the north of the city Thursday evening. The Metro Vancouver Regional District posted on X, formerly Twitter, that an old rail bridge had caught fire. Richmond Fire-Rescue says it’s not clear how the fire began and that no injuries were reported. The fire had been extinguished as of Friday morning.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that an old rail bridge caught fire and was causing black smoke. The district issued an air quality bulletin, asking anyone with shortness of breath, chest discomfort, severe coughing or dizziness to seek medical help.

An old rail bridge near the River Rock Casino in Richmond was engulfed in flames and smoke Thursday night. (Gurveen Randhawa/CBC)
charred train trestles
Crews work to extinguish hot spots after a major fire on a railway bridge near the River Rock Casino in Richmond, BC, on Friday June 21, 2024. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The fire had been extinguished as of Friday morning, according to the Metro Vancouver Regional District.

Richmond Fire Chief Jim Wishlove told CBC on Friday that no injuries were reported as a result of the fire.

Wishlove said air quality had improved thanks to wind in the region Friday morning, and Metro Vancouver said in a post on X that the air quality bulletin issued on Thursday would soon be rescinded.

black charred debris floats on top of the water
Debris is pictured washed along a dock after a major fire on a railway bridge near the River Rock Casino in Richmond, BC, on Friday June 21, 2024. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Wyenberg said it’s not clear how the fire began.

He suspected the burning bridge was covered in creosote, a wood-tar preservative, which produced the heavy black smoke that could be seen from many areas of Vancouver to the north.

Wishlove said several levels of government will be responsible for cleanup.

Operations at Vancouver International Airport, located around two kilometers west of the fire, were not affected, the airport said in a statement on X.

The province’s driver information service, DriveBC, said the Oak Street Bridge is open in both directions again after the fire forced its closure Thursday night.

Que Gardner, a visitor from Jacksonville, Fla., said he was in the casino when the fire broke out.

“Before I knew it, everything was on fire over here, and it slowly worked its way down,” he said.

A man in a baseball cap and a resort shirt in from of a flaming bridge.
Que Gardner said he was at the River Rock Casino when the fire broke out. (CBC News)

Jacob Joseph said he saw the fire from near Lansdowne Park. He cycled from his home nearby to see the source of the smoke.

“I’m shaken up,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in Richmond.”

A man in a red bicycle helmet stands in front of a burning bridge.
Jacob Joseph said he could see the fire from Lansdowne Park in Richmond. (CBC News)
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