Heavy black smoke billowed through the air Tuesday afternoon during a fire at Capt’n Crunch Recycling on Vye Road in Abbotsford. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Burning car cause of fire that destroyed Capt’n Crunch Recycling

Massive blaze broke out Tuesday afternoon at Abbotsford business

A massive fire Tuesday at Capt’n Crunch Recycling in Abbotsford started from a vehicle on the property and quickly spread, according to Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service (AFRS).

AFRS assistant chief Ron Hull said crews were called out at about 1:10 p.m. following a report of a vehicle on fire on the property at 34314 Vye Rd.

That was upgraded to a structure fire as crews were en route.

When they arrived, the building was fully engulfed in flames and heavy black smoke was billowing into the sky.

A total of 29 firefighters and 12 engines were on site during the peak of the blaze. Although the fire was contained relatively quickly, crews were on site for a total of four hours dealing with the cleanup, Hull said.

The blaze destroyed all the main buildings on site, including the shop, office and lunch room.

Hull said there were about 20 staff members on site when the fire broke out, and two were treated for minor injuries.

He said a firefighter was also treated for a “heat-related injury” but is otherwise fine.

Hull said representatives from the Ministry of Environment and the city’s public works department also attended to determine whether there were any environmental issues stemming from harmful products on site and the heavy smoke in the air, but he didn’t believe any major concerns arose.

Capt’n Crunch was started in 1971 by long-time Abbotsford residents Neil Neufeld and Rick Pemble at a location in the area of Lefeuvre and Huntingdon roads.

The business was transferred over to Pemble when it moved to the current location, and he later passed it along to his son Rickie so he could step back and enjoy retirement.

Pemble died in January 2014 after a battle with leukemia (Neufeld also died of leukemia in March of this year), but the business continues to be family-run.

Rochelle Pemble said none of the company’s equipment was affected by the fire, and they are continuing to operate.

“We have set up everything we need to continue business. Our employees and customers are so important to us that we will do what it takes,” she said.

Capt’n Crunch’s services include waste recycling, auto wrecking and metal recycling.

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