NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – The New Westminster Police Department’s Major Crime Unit has been called in to help investigate a fire that destroyed part of a pier late Sunday.
The fire started in Pier Park near the SkyTrain Bridge around 8 a.m. Sunday and burned to the west, through the giant W statue, volleyball courts and the seaside sleeping area.
The section of the wooden pier at the eastern end of the park suffered significant damage, according to police.
Firefighters contain the flame, but it continues to burn.
“At this time, the cause of the fire is unknown and the New Westminster Police Department’s Greater Crime Unit has been called in to assist fire investigators in determining a cause,” a statement said.
The old pier consisted of creosote-treated timber, sending highly toxic fumes into the air, according to the city fire department.
As a result of this and ongoing air quality advice from Metro Vancouver due to fire smoke, classes at New Westminster, Queensborough Middle, Queen Elizabeth, Fraser River and Qayqayt primary schools in New Westminster were suspended on Monday. along with an alternative program.
“Given the additional impact the fire in New Westminster Pier Park is having on already challenged air quality, out of a plethora of caution, we are suspending regular school classes within a fire,” says a statement from the school district.
“Staff will be on site, but were advising families to stay home and inside and urging parents not to drop out or send their children to the following schools today.”
New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote said Monday that the fire is likely to continue to burn for several days as the pier bench needs to be raised so firefighters can remove the remaining combustion materials.
Police are asking anyone with fire information to contact Greater Crime Unit investigators at 604-525-5411.
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