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Burning CP bridge in Richmond creates huge black plume of smoke

The Oak Street bridge is closed in both directions due to the fire

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A fire erupted along River Road in Richmond on Thursday evening, destroying a vacant wooden building and torching the unused Marpole rail bridge, releasing a thick black plume of smoke seen across the region.

The fire appears to have started in an industrial building on the 8900-block of River Road at around 8 p.m. Thursday evening and then spread to the decommissioned Marpole rail bridge, leading to the black plume of smoke seen from as far as North Vancouver. The Oak Street bridge was closed in both directions while firefighters fought the fire.

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The old CP rail swing bridge was damaged by fire in 2014 at the Vancouver end.

Thursday’s blaze appears to be much worse, with video showing the south end of the bridge on completely on fire, with pollution in the water beside.

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The swing-span trestle crosses the north arm of the Fraser just west of Oak Street and connects Vancouver with Richmond. It was originally built in 1902 and replaced in 1966 and is coated in flammable and toxic creosote.

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Smoke is seen from the area of River Drive and No 4. Road in Richmond. Photo: Christina Ip sun

The River Rock Casino and Hotel has a parkade adjacent to the fire but remained open as firefighters dealt with the blaze.

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Smoke is seen from the area of River Drive and No 4. Road in Richmond. Photo: Christina Ip sun
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Smoke is seen from the area of River Drive and No 4. Road in Richmond. Photo: Christina Ip sun

The Vancouver International Airport remained open, but travellers who need to cross the Oak Street Bridge (east of the fire) were asked to find an alternative route to the airport and to leave early.

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Smoke from a fire near the River Rock Casino is visible from Hwy 91. Photo: Christina Ip sun

According to land title records, the burned property at 8991 River Road is owned by River Point Yacht & Marina Centre Ltd.

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