Barge blaze on Fraser

UPDATE: 11:30 a.m.

A barge loaded with crushed vehicles is burning in the Fraser River, sending up a towering plume of acrid smoke that is visible over much of Metro Vancouver.

The blaze broke out Friday morning in the fully loaded, 76-metre barge as it was moored just north of the Pattullo Bridge.

A fireboat from Vancouver was called because firefighters in Surrey could not attack the worst of the flames near the front of the vessel, farthest from shore.

Officials say the fire has worked its way deep into the load of vehicles, and the thick, black smoke represents the burning oil, tires, seats, dashboards and other materials in the crushed vehicles.

The fire was expected to burn much of the day because upper levels of the load needed to be removed to be able to get water on the fire below.

A tweet from Metro Vancouver regional district says anyone affected by the considerable smoke should stay indoors, close all windows and follow the directions of a health-care provider if symptoms are experienced.

– The Canadian Press

ORIGINAL: 8:50 a.m.

A barge carrying crushed cars is ablaze on the Fraser River.

The barge is burning near the Pattullo Bridge, which links Surrey and New Westminster.

Numerous explosions have also been heard. Large plumes of thick, black smoke can be seen from around the Greater Vancouver area.

Fire crews have been trying to battle the blaze from land.

No word on any injuries.

More details as they become available.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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