Large fire breaks out near Oak Street Bridge in Richmond, B.C.

Richmond Fire-Rescue says crews were dispatched to a report of a fire at an industrial building

Thick black smoke billowed above Richmond, B.C., after a fire broke out Thursday evening.

Richmond Fire-Rescue said crews rushed to the scene after reports of a fire at an industrial building near the River Rock Casino Resort at around 9 p.m. 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.

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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.

Explainer: Wildfire smoke serious health impacts. Less common symptoms, but are more serious. Poor air quality. Baron (Government of Canada)

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

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He said he suspected the burning bridge was covered in creosote, a wood-tar preservative, which was producing the heavy black smoke.

DriveBC said on X that the fire affected traffic on the Oak Street Bridge in both directions.

In a statement on X, Vancouver International Airport said its operations were not affected by the fire.

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Que Gardner, a visitor from Jacksonville, Florida, 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.

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

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"I'm shaken up," he said. "I've never seen anything like this in Richmond."

Thumbnail image credit to Gurveen Randhawa / CBC News.

This article, written by Isaac Phan Nay, was originally published for CBC News; with files from Nicholas Allan.

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