Shortly after 8:00pm this evening reports of a fire at New Westminster’s Pier Park (which runs from the foot of 6th St to the SkyBridge) hit Twitter. Photos started rolling in of the 150 year old structure ablaze, from the creosote-soaked pilings underneath, with the iconic “W” of the WOW Westminster sculpture surrounded by flames.
Fire at New Westminster’s Pier Park
Just ahead of 9:00pm, Translink posted a service notice, suspending all Expo Line SkyTrains from Columbia to Scott Road due to the smoke. Vancouver Fire Rescue’s Assistant Chief Young reported that the fire boat was on the way to help out:
.@VanFireRescue currently has a #FireBoat enroute to @cityofnewwest to assist with a dock fire— Assistant Chief Young (@ACSheldonYoung) September 14, 2020
At 10:44pm the Mayor of New Westminster, Jonathan Cote, shared on Twitter: “Devastating fire in Pier Park this evening. Just spoke to our Fire Chief. We are receiving assistance from fire departments across the region. The fire is being contained to the old part of the pier, but it is likely the old pier of the park will be completely destroyed. At this time the cause is not known. It is not believed anyone was caught in this fire.”
A local business, Techno Monkey Media, has been running a live stream on Facebook.
This weekend the region was socked in with wildfire smoke from Washington, Oregon and California and tonight’s fire has contributed to even worse air conditions for the Lower Mainland.
As of 10:35pm, New Westminster Schools posted on Twitter that despite wildfire smoke and the fire at the pier, school will be in session tomorrow but they are consulting with the ministry.
Credit to Rick Fabbro #newwestfire pic.twitter.com/khFo00YTjg— Rosie (@RosieKekoa) September 14, 2020
The New West Record reports: “Coun. Patrick Johnstone was [one of] the community members who went to the Front Street parkade to view the fire. A friend who had seen it in its early stages told him the fire appeared to have started on the east side of the park and travelled west…
…Westminster Pier Park, a $25.2-milllion, 600-metre long linear park, opened on New Westminster’s waterfront in June 2012. The popular destination includes playgrounds, a sports court, a “festival lawn” gathering area, a concession, walking paths, beach volleyball courts and more.”
The fire comes just a few days after the 122nd anniversary of the Great New Westminster Fire that wiped out the city from the waterfront to Royal Ave back in 1898.
@VanFireRescue Fireboat 1 on scene at pier fire in New Westminster assisting @NewWestFF @newwestpolice. Great job by Capt Bridger and crew dealing with the dark, heavy black smoke and strong river currents. @GlobalBC @CBCVancouver @CTVVancouver @CKNW pic.twitter.com/gC2riggciw— Assistant Chief Operations Connelly – VFRS (@ACOpsConnelly) September 14, 2020
Find more updates about the fire from CityNews1130 who had reporters on scene on the New West and Surrey sides of the Fraser River all night.
Update from Mayor Jonathan Cote on Monday, September 24, 2020 at 8:07am:
Fire Update: Visited the site this morning. The fire is still going at Pier Park, but it is now fully contained to the old pier section. The fire could last a few days and will not be able to be put out until they remove the deck. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/krjPKLQggO— Jonathan Cote (@jonathanxcote) September 14, 2020
“The old pier part of the park will not be salvageable and the big “W” will need to come down. Thank you to all of the hard working fire fighters at NWFD and other departments that worked hard all night containing the fire.
Please avoid the area as the air quality near the park site is very poor. Very sad day for the City of New Westminster, this was a very special place in our community.”