A machine that melts Styrofoam was the cause of a fire at a nursery in Pitt Meadows on Saturday.
The fire took place at PRT Nurseries, in the 12600-block of Wooldridge Road, after a machine that melts the Styrofoam into blobs in order to make it easier for shipping and recycling malfunctioned.
Pitt Meadows deputy fire chief Brad Perrie saw the plume of smoke before the call came in, while a crew was clearing another small fire at Halo Saw Mill.
The fire at the sawmill started due to welding droppings from ceiling work.
The for the nursery fire came at about 3:15 p.m.
Perrie said the fire started in the melting machine and quickly spread to surrounding piles of Styrofoam and lumber, also waiting to be recycled.
“Styrofoam is just basically a petroleum product, so it was like a big gasoline fire. That’s why it is so black,” Perrie said.
Styrofoam boxes are used by the nursery to hold seedling pods and the lumber is used for their growing racks. Both become damaged over time until they are unusable.
With the fire far away from the street, Pitt Meadows firefighters didn’t have enough hose or water pressure and had to call Maple Ridge for assistance from its two tender trucks to shuttle water.
It took 24 firefighters from Pitt Meadows and eight from Maple Ridge about three hours to get the fire under control and another three hours to pack up.
Perrie was not happy with the amount of lumber and Styrofoam waiting to be recycled.
“They need to process that out quicker. If that fire had happened maybe two months from now, we could have had a bigger problem,” he added about pending warmer weather.
He plans to talk to the owners and the city about cleaning up the site.