UPDATED: Cause of barge fire on Gorge Waterway remains undetermined

The barge poses too many hazards for investigators.

Investigators will likely never know what caused a fire on a barge on the Gorge Waterway last week.

Victoria Fire Department deputy chief Dan Atkinson said investigators will not look into the fire any further due to unsafe conditions.

“We’re not going to place our investigators on the barge in that type of environment, it’s just too much of a hazard to place our members at that level of risk,” he said, adding the scrap materials pose a number of hazards that investigators could cut themselves or trip on.

On Friday around 2:09 p.m., the department responded to reports of a fire on a Seaspan barge.

Seventeen firefighters battled the blaze from both the water with a fire boat and by land using a ladder. The Coast Guard also deployed a boom to reduce the impacts on the environment.

The fire, which sent heavy smoke billowing into the air, was buried deep within the pile of scrap metal, making it difficult to extinguish. Crews used an excavator to remove debris and expose the fire, and were then able to extinguish it.

Atkinson said the situation illustrated the value of having the fire boat to be able to combat the blaze.

“It would have been much, much more difficult if we were relying solely on land-based firefighting in order to attack that (the fire) effectively. It just really illustrated the value of having that type of vessel that’s capable of that type of fire surpression,” he said.

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