A large fire at a greenhouse operation on Smith Avenue yesterday started with a fire on a front loader, according to assistant fire chief Craig Bird.
Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service crews were called out to the scene – which is located off of Lefeuvre Road in West Abbotsford – for a large bark mulch fire just after 2:20 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.
“It started off as a loader tractor that caught fire in the middle of that bark mulch material,” he said.
“The loader tractor caught on fire, which caught the bark mulch on fire, which caught the … structure on fire.”
The bark mulch is used as a heat source for the greenhouse operation on the site, he said.
Bird said there were about 70 firefighters at the scene, saying “we called in about every resource that we possibly could.”
He added that even in those situations there are still crews available to respond to issues in other areas of the city.
Firefighters were at the scene until 4:30 a.m. on Friday.
Heat is a big issue for firefighters, particularly in daylight hours. Bird explained that they rotate their firefighters through a rehab program with BC Ambulance Services. They work for 30 minutes and then they have to hydrate, eat, and have their vitals and body core temperature checked.
All the firefighters were cycled through multiple times, he said.
He said luckily there was a retention pond at the site, so “we had an almost unlimited water source,” that the trucks could draft from.
“It was a huge factor in mitigating this,” he said.
He said he was proud of the quick response from firefighters, which helped bring the flames down.
“Our guys worked really hard and really fast. It was a really aggressive firefight for the first hour, but we got a handle on it pretty quickly.”
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