An RCMP officer takes photos on May 3, 2019 outside a building that was the scene of a dramatic fire on Nowell and Fourth in Chilliwack on May 2. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

UPDATE: RCMP still silent on cause of last Thursday’s dramatic fire

Heavy police presence for 48 hours after blaze at property that was treated like a crime scene

Officials are saying nothing yet about the possible cause of last Thursday’s massive fire in an industrial building on Fourth Avenue but the site was of obvious interest to RCMP investigators.

The dramatic fire started at around 10:30 a.m. on May 2 in a building at the corner of Fourth and Nowell Street adjacent to the residential neighbourhood.

As Chilliwack Fire Department crews arrived on scene, the eastern edge of the building was fully involved. Over the course of at least an hour as firefighters battled the blaze, several explosions could be heard coming from inside.

• READ MORE: UPDATE w/ VIDEO: Explosions heard during dramatic blaze at Chilliwack industrial building

The fire eventually spread until the entire structure was consumed. Because of the intense heat, smoke and explosions, the RCMP pushed onlookers a considerable distance away.

The business at the location is Target Steel and Sea Container. The company customizes steel containers for shipping and storage, work that involves welding, but there has been a suggestion that another business operated out of the east side of the building.

Chilliwack Fire Department crews battle an industrial building at the corner of Nowell Street and Fourth Avenue that started at around 10:30 a.m. on May 2, 2019. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Speculation over what was actually inside has grown as several RCMP investigation units were on the scene for more than 48 hours. Officers in hazmat suits entered the rubble at least twice, and several officers from the drug squad were on scene.

Still, police are saying little about the investigation, which is said to still be in the early stages. Asked if the intense police scrutiny was because there was a drug lab of some kind, Chilliwack RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Mike Rail said that would be speculation.

“That’s all part of the investigation,” Rail said.

One officer on the scene Friday said he could not comment, but suggested that police were “very interested” in the property.

Smoke from the large fire could be seen across the city as it burned until the afternoon on Thursday. BC Hydro shut down power to the area, but it was back up before the end of the day.

The fire was so intense that after it was put out Thursday afternoon, it took more than 24 hours before investigators could get into the destroyed structure.

Anyone with information about this fire is asked to call the RCMP at 604-792-4611 or anonymously through Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or www.upperfraservalleycrimestoppers.ca

• RELATED: Crews deal with major clean-up following two massive industrial fires in Chilliwack


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

One day later, several RCMP officers were on the scene doing preliminary investigation outside the building destroyed by fire May 2, 2019. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Neighbours watch as Chilliwack Fire Department crews battle an industrial building at the corner of Nowell Street and Fourth Avenue that started at around 11 a.m. on May 2, 2019. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

An RCMP officer walks south on Nowell Street on May 3, 2019 by Target Steel and Sea Container, which was destroyed by fire a day before. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Chilliwack Fire Department crews battle an industrial building at the corner of Nowell Street and Fourth Avenue that started at around 11 a.m. on May 2, 2019. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Fire crews battle an industrial fire at the corner of Nowell Street and Fourth Avenue Thursday. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Mammoth sturgeon catch was ‘a fish of a lifetime’ for Chilliwack guide

Sturgeon was so enormous it tied for largest specimen every tagged and released in the Fraser

BREAKING: Body found believed to be missing Chilliwack senior with dementia

Police says case is now in the hands of the coroner

Chilliwack’s Jude Hall selected for T12 baseball tournament

The Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy hosts the annual showcase event at Rogers Centre in Toronto.

Motorists urged to use caution as Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls through Chilliwack

Thousands of cyclists will be heading through Chilliwack this weekend as part of cancer fundraiser

Man dies after hit-and-run in Abbotsford

77-year-old pedestrian dies in hospital after collision on Marshall Road

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria cases in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Liberals block hearings into scathing ethics report on SNC-Lavalin affair

Dion concluded in his report last week that Trudeau broke the Conflict of Interest Act

Retired Richmond fisherman wins record-breaking $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

‘Unsubstantiated’ bomb threat against CP Rail in Revelstoke

On Aug. 18, a bomb threat was made against CP Rail in Revelstoke

Victoria father charged with double murder of his daughters takes the stand

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Most Read