Mattress Recycling's owner, Fabio Scaldaferri, said he'd just locked up and gone home for dinner when he got a call from one of his business's neighbours.
"She asked me if I know if my building was on fire," said Scaldaferri, who moved his business to the building near Knight Street and South East Marine Drive two years ago.
"When I arrived, the fire was in full swing. There were hoses and firemen everywhere. There was a crowd, the TV cameras had shown up. I could see the plume of smoke from 32nd [Avenue], or so," said Scaldaferri. "It was massive, just massive. I couldn't even believe what I was seeing."
Vancouver Fire Battalion Chief Ken Abel said when his crews arrived, they found the facility fully engulfed in flames.
Mattress Recycling is a business that manually disassembles the region's waste mattresses for recycling. Abel says fire crews struggled to knock down the flames, amid all the mattresses.
"It was a significant fire, there was a lot of smoke and heat, and a significant amount of heat," said Abel.
Hours after the fire began, Abel said crews were still trying access hot spots.
"The mattresses were piled up there, quite significantly high, up ten, fifteen feet in height, and the fire was just smoldering, continually smoldering in there and it made it very difficult to extinguish it," said Abel.
Eventually, an excavator was brought in to move the charred debris around, and access the stubborn spots.
Plans to quickly reopen
Scaldaferri said he plans to reopen the business on Friday, but he wasn't quite sure where that would happen.
"There's some facilities close by that seem to be empty. It's going to be very complicated."
"I'm sure everything's going to be fine, we're going to relocate," said Scaldaferri. "We deal with a lot of the region's waste so we don't want to, you know, leave our accounts hanging. It's going to be quite a push tomorrow."
Scaldaferri said the office section of the facility was largely undamaged, and the company's records were saved.
"Firemen went in and took out the safe information and computer information," said Scaldaferri.
"We lost a few machines, but, yeah, the good thing is that nobody was hurt and it was after business hours," said Scaldaferri, who added that 45 people work at the facility.
Unsure how fire started
Abel said it's too early to determine what sparked the fire, and investigators will be picking through the debris after fire crews had finished their work there.
He said between 40 and 45 firefighters were called to the third alarm fire.
"The fire guys have been amazing, I've never seen so many firemen in my life, and a big thanks to them for doing such a great job," said Scaldaferri.
Nobody was hurt in the fire.