Fire at Steel Recycling Facility South of Nanaimo

DISCLAIMER: Information provided is based on reports received by Emergency Management B.C. Information provided is considered to be current at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.

Incident Description

Incident Date September 10, 2020
Name Fire at Steel Recycling Facility South of Nanaimo (DGIR: 202063)
Source Industrial Fire
Nearest Community Cassidy, B.C.
Spilled Content Fire suppression water 
Who is involved? Schnitzer Steel Industries, B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV), North Oyster Fire Department and other mutual aid fire departments, First Nations Health Authority, Vancouver Island Health Authority, Envirochem Services Inc., Nucor Environmental Solutions Ltd., Cowichan Valley Regional District, Regional District of Nanaimo


Response Phase Detail

The responsible person or spiller is legally required to clean-up or manage the clean-up of a spill. In incidents where the responsible person is unknown, unable or unwilling to manage the clean up, the Ministry of Environment may assume the role. The updates below reflect the Ministry’s oversight of the spillers’ actions; details describe the spill response phase, only, and not the complete lifecycle of the spill. See More Information for other related reports. 

Updates are in reverse chronological order, with the most recent at the top. Industry-specific language may be explained in the Glossary of Terms (PDF).

Most Recent Update

September 11, 2020 - 7:37 pm

The fire has been extinguished, Schnitzer Steel Industries continues clean-up at site however all municipal fire departments have demobilized. A coordination call was held to ensure up to date incident related information is being shared.

Staff from the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV) will return to site tomorrow (September 12, 2020) to continue monitoring and help implement the sampling plan developed today. Environmental response contractors remain on site to assess and clean-up any identified impacts from the fire.

Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

September 11, 2020 - 11:30 am

Response contractors, Envirochem and Nucor, have arrived on-site and continue to monitor for any environmental impacts related to this incident. Air monitoring stations have been set up to assess air quality in the area. Water from fire suppression continues to be of concern and is being assessed for possible contamination to the groundwater table. Response officers from the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV) returned to site today to assist with the development of a sampling and monitoring plan.

Further updates will be provided as information is available.

September 10, 2020 - 5:40 pm

Around 09:00 am an industrial fire was reported at a Schnitzer Steel Industries recycling facility in Cassidy B.C. Multiple fire departments are on-scene and responding. At this time the fire is contained to the site, however it could take considerable time to fully extinguish.

The fire suppression water run-off may impact nearby Thomas Creek. Two Environmental Emergency Response Officers (EERO) from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV) are on-scene working with the fire departments and the responsible person to assess any environmental impacts due to fire suppression activities. An Environmental Health Officer from the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) visited the site to address any public health concerns.

There is significant smoke from the fire in the area and air quality technicians from ENV have been notified. Local first nations and the First Nation Health Authority have also been notified.

The recycling facility owner, Schnitzer Steel Industries, has contracted qualified professionals to help address the environmental response, any potential contamination from fire suppression water and to monitor the air quality.

Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

Fire and smoke from recycling centre incident(Fire and smoke showing from the incident site, September 10, 2020 - 13:25)

Incident Location