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Metro Vancouver receives complaints over smell from Burnaby refinery

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Services emergency services confirmed the source of the strong smell of burning plastic: the Burnaby refinery.

  • Audrey Simon (View profile)Audrey Simon

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Metro Vancouver says it has received more than 100 complaints from Vancouver and Burnaby residents about the “strong chemical odor” coming from the Burnany refinery.

The strong and unpleasant smell of burning plastic spread throughout the region, particularly in Vancouver and its surrounding area early in the morning. A spokesperson for the Burnaby Fire Department confirmed that an incident at the Burnaby refinery, a suburb of Vancouver, was the cause of the smell.

According to Metro Vancouver's press release, the company Parkland Refining, owner of the refinery, holds an air emissions permit. Environmental regulatory and enforcement officers are on site to assess the situation and gather information.

Emergency services, however, indicate that the incident is not an emergency.

Vancouver Deputy Fire Chief Pierre Morin explains that the cause of this smell remains uncertain. For her part, the chief of the Vancouver fire department, Karen Fry, talks about an industrial incident linked to hydrocarbons.

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Parkland said in a statement that the odor was caused by a problem with one of the processing units at the Burnaby refinery. She ensures that she collaborates with the Burnaby Fire Department and the RCMP. No injuries have been reported at this time […] and our teams continue to work to resolve this temporary incident.

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At approximately 12:30 p.m. Pacific Time, the City of Vancouver issued a public safety advisory (New window) (in English) encouraging citizens to stay at home, keeping doors and windows closed. If this is not possible, the City recommends finding shelter in a community center or library. The Burnaby Fire Department is providing the same recommendations to anyone who smells a strong odor related to the incident.

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The British Columbia Ministry of Environment also advises people bothered by this smell of stay indoors.

Provincial officers who respond to environmental emergencies are monitoring the situation and are working with Parkland to mitigate potential effects on air quality, the ministry said in an email to CBC/Radio-Canada.

In addition, the Parkland refinery reported (New window), on January 19, a risk of fumes due to weather conditions that occurred particularly in Greater Vancouver, including a snowstorm and freezing rain.

This refinery, purchased by the Alberta company Parkland in 2017, supplies about a quarter of Metro Vancouver's gasoline and diesel.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116