An explosion that rocked Peace Arch border Friday evening – closing the port for about two hours – was caused by an engine fire, officials say.
Canada Border Services Agency spokesperson Erin Steeksma said no one was hurt in the blaze, which occurred around 6 p.m. in a van in the southbound lineup.
But the smoke, flames and noise were enough to catch the attention of at least one Zero Avenue resident.
Gord Goble said he was at the end of a run when he heard two “kabooms” come from the border, about 30 seconds apart.
“I saw this little plume of smoke. When I got closer, I knew it was something really big,” Goble said.
He saw a southbound vehicle “totally engulfed.”
“The flames were 20 feet high,” Goble said.
Steeksma said border guards were quick to act. They immediately notified emergency crews, confirmed no one was inside the burning vehicle and worked to divert traffic to the Pacific Highway border. Guards’ efforts to extinguish the blaze were unsuccessful, however, their “heroic” actions until fire crews arrived helped avert what could have been a tragedy, Steeksma said.
The border was reopened around 8 p.m.