VANCOUVER Fire and Rescue Services said on Wednesday that its crews responded to reports of a vehicle fire and small explosion in the area of Granville Street and Pacific Avenue at approximately 3 p.m. on Tuesday. The crews extinguished a minor vehicle fire that appeared to have been caused by flame from a utility access cover below the vehicle. Approximately 30 metres away, a 3-metre crater was discovered with significant amounts of concrete displaced that also appeared to involve an underground utility vault.
After working closely with the Vancouver Police Department, BC Hydro, and Fortis, fire investigators determined that the fire and adjacent explosion were caused by electrical faults when cables failed. The subsequent large electrical arc within a confined space resulted in the explosion, displacing concrete and damaging several vehicles.
VFRS said that fortunately no one was injured in either the vehicle fire or explosion. However, traffic between Pacific Avenue and Beach Avenue on Granville may be affected during the clean-up process and utility vault repair.