[VANCOUVER] A large portion of Canada's biggest port was shut down on Wednesday after a four-alarm chemical fire broke out amid numerous shipping containers piled up in a yard east of Vancouver's downtown core. "All south shore of the Burrard inlet port operations have been shut down, including rail and truck access," said Port Metro Vancouver spokesman John Parker-Jervis in a statement.
The burning container contains trichloroisocyanuric acid, a hazardous organic compound commonly used as an industrial disinfectant and bleaching agent, he added.
The Port evacuated its Centerm terminal, which is operated by DP World Vancouver, and nearby port properties. It said that emergency services were on-site and actively determining if additional evacuations were required.
Police, meanwhile, urged nearby residents to stay inside and keep their windows closed. The impacted neighborhoods include parts of Vancouver's notorious Downtown Eastside, where many of the city's homeless live.
There were no reported injuries and it is not yet clear how the fire started.
Emergency personnel also said that they had asked Canadian Pacific Railway to shut down its rail line through the port due to the incident, while commuter train service to suburbs east of the city was "delayed or canceled."
Local television station CTV News posted video of smoke billowing from stacks of containers piled up at the Centerm container terminal, one of four container terminals in Metro Vancouver.
Vancouver fire said 21 firefighters had been called in to battle the blaze.