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2 injured after electrical explosion, fire in downtown Vancouver

Witnesses say they heard a loud explosion and saw flames pouring out of a manhole cover near Vancouver’s Marine building shortly after 6 p.m. PT on Friday. 

Emergency crews responded to incident on Burrard Street between West Hastings and West Cordova.

The front end of a fire truck, a black police car and firefighters in full gear are seen working in thick smoke with an orange tint.

Two people were injured by an electrical explosion and fire in downtown Vancouver on Friday night, according to local fire crews.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud boom and seeing a large fireball on Burrard Street between West Hastings and West Cordova streets. Nearby buildings and businesses were evacuated as city firefighters and police officers responded to the scene.

Huge explosion outside the Marine Building on Burrard. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Vancouver?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Vancouver</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/explosion?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#explosion</a> <a href=”https://t.co/z8QVWV7iNt”>pic.twitter.com/z8QVWV7iNt</a>


Dan Nichols, acting assistant fire chief with Vancouver Fire Rescue Services, said about 45 firefighters were called to 355 Burrard St. for an explosion. Known as the Marine Building, the art deco-style skyscraper is a popular location for film and television productions.

“When crews got on scene, they were met with a fireball,” he said. “It moved a pretty big piece of concrete, so it was a forceful blast.”

Fire from downtown electrical explosion contained

Vancouver fire crews say an electrical explosion caused a fire at Burrard and Hastings Friday night. Two people suffered burns and cuts. A number of windows were blown out, and some nearby buildings were evacuated. Vancouver police say they do not believe the explosion was criminal in nature.

Nichols said fire crews tended to two people with facial lacerations and burns, but he wasn’t sure about the extent of their injuries. B.C. Emergency Health Services later told CBC that two patients were in stable condition.

Nichols suspects the fire was sparked in an electrical vault, though the cause is still under investigation.

He said two buildings were damaged and windows were blown out, with the fire and smoke mainly affecting a JJ Bean coffee shop inside the Marine Building.

Nichols said firefighters quickly entered the building when they arrived but found it mostly empty aside from a few cleaning staff.

Two workers look into an underground vault.

TransLink said the Waterfront SkyTrain station was closed at the request of police due to an incident near Burrard and West Hastings.

In a tweet, the Vancouver Police Department said officers were assisting firefighters as they investigated an explosion and added that it was not believed to be a criminal act.

B.C. Hydro also came to help firefighters clear the scene.

In an emailed statement, the Crown utility said it was working with first responders to make the scene safe before looking to determine the cause of the fire and the repair work required. A spokesperson said seven customers in the area were without power.

Nichols said shortly after 7:30 p.m. PT that the fire had burned itself out and crews were focused on cleanup.

Just before 9:15 p.m., TransLink said Waterfront Station had reopened and regular service had resumed.

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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