03/05/2015 01:37 EST | Updated 05/04/2015 05:59 EDT

Port Metro Vancouver chemical fire may cause health problems today

Health authorities are warning that people could feel the effects of the chemical fire at Port Metro Vancouver up to 24 hours after being exposed.

A massive chemical fire Wednesday forced the closure of the port and hundreds of people were ordered to stay in and close their windows while heavy smoke drifted over parts of downtown Vancouver.

Patricia Daly, chief medical officer of Vancouver Coastal Health, said people, especially those with pre-existing lung problems, could experience wheezing or difficulty breathing and if so should seek medical attention. 

"People with asthma or other lung diseases do need to monitor themselves overthe next 24 hours if they have been exposed to the smoke," she said on Wednesday.

She said health-care facilities across the city are prepared to help with those concerns. 

"You may feel burning and stinging in your eyes, you might feel it in your throat or when you breathe," Daly said.