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FIRE UPDATES

QUESTION & ANSWER – April 29

  • Question: We received a couple of questions relating to ocean water testing.
  • Answer (Further to the answer provided below on April 25th): Envirochem Services Inc., retained by Squamish Terminals, advises that orthoimagery collected by Environment Canada and analyzed for hydrocarbons during the fire indicated no detectable hydrocarbons on the marine waters near Squamish Terminals. Currently fire debris and dock structures are contained within booms and are being removed for disposal. The known potential contaminants of concern associated with dock fires (hydrocarbons, wood preservatives and combustion products) are water repellant by nature.  They do not readily separate from wood debris in water due to their extremely low solubility in water. Based on this information, no risks for human exposure are anticipated with respect to swimming or recreational beach uses. If debris suspected to be related to the fire is observed outside of the containment area, please report to Squamish Terminals info@sqterminals.com or 604-892-3511 and avoid touching the debris, as should be standard practice with any preservative treated lumber in general (e.g. railroad ties or telephone poles). An environmental consultant has been retained to conduct an investigation as to sediment and water quality in the context of potential marine ecological impacts (if any) associated with the fire. Results of this study once completed will be made available to the public at a later date.
  • Question: When will the Cattermole Slough reopen or the boom be removed?
  • Answer: The Cattermole Slough is not closed, it is open to navigation. The booms need to remain in place to protect the Cattermole Slough and other areas while the dock demolition and cleanup of debris is completed, which is estimated to take between one and two more weeks. Any boats with a large draft should continue to maintain a slow bell around the boom areas. If any boat needs to cross a boom they should radio VHF channel 08 and the boom monitoring crew will do their best to accommodate opening and closing of the boom (please do not try to do this yourself or jump the booms). Any watercraft with low draft (e.g. kayaks, paddle boards) can safely cross over the booms or carry on land around the booms. If anyone sees a boom compromised please contact 604-892-3511 or info@sqterminals.com. Further updates will be posted when they become available. Thank you for your patience. 

QUESTION & ANSWER – April 25 

  • Question: Has there been any soil testing done?
  • Answer: Envirochem Services Inc. advises that soil samples were collected from various areas around Squamish and were retained for analysis subject to results of dust (surface wipes) sampling undertaken directly downwind of the fire. Results from the dust sampling indicated that there were no detectable contaminants attributable to the dock fire. Dust would be expected to have the highest concentrations of contaminants since it falls directly from air and would be the cause of any fire related soil contamination if it deposited in soil. In this case no contaminants were found attributed to the fire in dust and thus analysis of soil was unnecessary. Having said that, the full results report needs to be reviewed by Vancouver Coastal Health and other agencies to confirm. Further updates will be posted once more information is available.
  • Question: I read through the April 24 release issued by Squamish Terminals and there is no reference to ocean water testing being done.  Could you please let me know if any is being done and if so when the results will be released?
  • Answer: Envirochem Services Inc., retained by Squamish Terminals, advises that no sampling of water has been undertaken, however debris is contained and is anticipated as a non-issue at this time. If debris is observed it would be advisable to simply avoid coming into direct contact with it as per District of Squamish Advisory. Please contact Squamish Terminals at info@sqterminals.com or 604-892-3511 if any debris is observed in the area so it can be picked up. Other than that there are no anticipated risks for recreational kite boarders and wind surfers near the Squamish River dyke.

Media Advisory – April 24 – Situation Update for Squamish Terminals Dock Fire

  • Issued by Squamish Terminals

Media Advisory – April 20 – Situation Update for Squamish Terminals Dock Fire

  • Issued by Squamish Terminals

News Release, April 19 – Squamish Fire Incident Public Information Update

  • Issued by Vancouver Coastal Health, BC Ministry of Environment & Squamish Terminals

As of 12:00pm, April 18

  • A Unified Command Centre has been established and we are working with the various agencies to deal with the fire.
  • As reported yesterday the fire is fully contained and we are working on extinguishing the fire. As part of this unified response, we have engaged Fraser River Pile & Dredge to dismantle the top of the berth to allow firefighters better access to the fire. They are expected to commence early afternoon and will work 24/7. We don’t know how long this part of the operation will take. As the operation proceeds all agencies are continuing to monitor wind direction and air quality.
  • In addition, Western Canada Marine Response Corporation is on scene. They have boomed off sensitive habitat areas near the terminal to help protect them as the berth is dismantled. The booms will remain in place for as long as needed.
  • Our environmental consultants are also contracted and working to sample air quality, particulate matter deposits, water quality and sediment impacts. They too will remain on scene for as long as necessary.
  • The Ministry of Environment (MoE) and Vancouver Coastal Health are continuing to do air quality monitoring, and Fire services is leading the fire response efforts. Any questions related to this monitoring or the firefighting should be directed to the agencies leading those efforts.
  • The situation has normalized enough to gradually commence business operations, but we are in a position to respond immediately to ensure the health and safety of our employees should the situation alter in any way. We are currently working the west dock which is far removed from the damaged berth.

As of 7:28pm, April 17 – At this time emergency response continues to focus on extinguishing the fire underneath the dock. At about 0100 PST Fraser River Pile & Dredge will be onsite to assist by removing sections of the dock decking. Emergency Services, District of Squamish, Ministry of Environment, First Nations, Vancouver Coastal Health, our management team and others will continue to coordinate efforts to monitor the situation throughout the night. We are also working with our environmental consultants on any measures we need to undertake to minimize impacts related to this incident. One such step is the utilization of Western Canada Marine Response Corporation for deployment of booms for the deflection and/or protection of sensitive areas in Howe Sound. The safety of our employees, cargo and the community continues to be of utmost importance.

As of 4:00pm, April 17 – The fire remains active and is still contained under the dock. Squamish Fire Rescue continue their efforts to extinguish the fire.

As of 9:30am, April 17 – Squamish Fire Rescue is reporting that the ‪#‎Squamishfire‬ is fully contained but not out. Crews will be using a 3 hour low tide window to continue fighting the fire from the water. The shelter-in-place order remains lifted but please be aware that conditions could change throughout the day.

As of 7am, April 17 – District of Squamish Emergency Operations Centre has advised that air quality in Squamish has improved this morning. As a result, the Shelter-in-Place alert has been lifted at this time for all neighbourhoods. Residents should be aware that conditions could change throughout the day due to variables such as wind, heat and fire fighting efforts . Provincial officials will continue to monitor the air quality and we will advise if a Shelter-in-Place alert needs to be reinstated. School District 48 has announced that schools will be open. Students will be kept indoors all day, and the School District will update throughout the day as necessary. Stay tuned to Squamish.ca and the District’s Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates on the ‪#‎SquamishFire‬ throughout the day today.

As of 1am, April 17 – Emergency Operations Centre has advised that fire is 90% contained. Emergency Services, fire boats and our management team will  be onsite to monitor the fire throughout the night.  Ministry of Environment will be onsite to monitor air quality. Further updates will be provided as they become available. Thank you to all of our employees and the community for your support during this difficult time.

As of 10pm, April 16 – This evening, just after 6pm a fire broke out on the East Berth of the terminal. The fire was not on the vessel that was tied up to the dock; the vessel was cut loose and is safely away from the dock. All employees and crew members that were onsite have been accounted for and are safe. Emergency Services are onsite and further updates will be provided as they become available.

For all inquiries or concerns related to the fire, please email us at info@sqterminals.com

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Squamish Terminals is a deep-water, break-bulk terminal located at the north end of Howe Sound – just 32 nautical miles north of the Port of Vancouver.

With an intermodal transportation infrastructure (including access to rail, ocean and truck), 2 berths, 3 warehouses, specialized handling equipment and an experienced team, Squamish Terminals efficiently handles cargo bound for North America and around the world.

At Squamish Terminals we value and support our people, our environment and our community.

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