03/05/2015 10:37 EST | Updated 05/05/2015 05:59 EDT

Port Metro Vancouver chemical fire is out

The four-alarm blaze that started at Port Metro Vancouver, one of the country's busiest ports, on Wednesday is finally out.   

The port, the fire department and other groups will try to open the container, where the blaze started, tonight to investigate the situation further, according to a statement from the city of Vancouver. 

Operations at the port resumed earlier on Thursday.

John Parker-Jervis, a spokesman for Port Metro Vancouver, said the terminal was shut down and employees sent home yesterday. The blaze also forced hundreds of others to stay indoors for a few hours in the afternoon.


"This was the closest we have come to a major evacuation across part of our city in many, many years," said Penny Ballem, Vancouver city manager.

Vancouver Coastal Health said trichloroisocyanuric acid, a hazardous organic compound that can be used as an industrial disinfectant, fuelled the fire at the container terminal.

Health warnings were issued as the plume of smoke spread.  

About 13 people were treated in emergency departments for breathing problems and irritated eyes, said Dr. Meena Dawar, medical health officer with Vancouver Coastal Health. 

Now that the fire is out the port, which trades $187 billion in goods a year and handles thousands of containers of hazardous materials, can review how the incident was handled.

"We are really pleased with how that unfolded," said Peter Xotta, vice president of planning and operations at the port.

"We will take back evidence of where there are communication improvement opportunities and we will be debriefing with the city and other agencies to make sure we are in the best possible position going forward," Xotta said.