Crews investigate second fire in two months on recycling barge in Fraser River

SURREY, B.C. — Officials are keeping a close watch on air and water quality along the lower Fraser River after a fire aboard a recycling barge moored in Surrey sent dense, black smoke billowing over parts of Greater Vancouver.

Metro Vancouver did not issue air quality warnings Tuesday night but a spokesman with Surrey's fire department said the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority harbour master was checking water quality in the river.

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A fireboat from Vancouver helped knock down the flames several hours after they broke out at about 5 p.m. on the barge at Schnitzer Metal Recyclers.

An Environment Ministry spokesman says the company is the same one involved in a similar barge fire at the same location on Aug. 10.

In both cases, the barge was loaded with what the ministry describes as "end-of-life, depolluted materials" such as crushed vehicles and appliances.

The 76-metre barge remains afloat, tethered to the Fraser River foreshore, while an investigation into the cause of the fire continues.

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