A aerial view of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain tank farm is pictured in Burnaby, B.C., is shown on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward

Fire response at Trans Mountain Burnaby tank farm could take six hours: audit

Site doesn’t have mutual aid response agreement with Burnaby fire department

It would take six hours for firefighters to respond to a blaze at the Trans Mountain tank farm in Burnaby, according to a 2016 audit.

The report was only released this year following an Access to Information request by Svend Robinson, the NDP hopeful for the riding of Burnaby North–Seymour.

The fire protection audit was commissioned by the National Energy Board, now called the Canadian Energy Regulator, and completed by Canadian fire safety consulting firm PLC Fire Safety Solutions.

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It concluded that although the fire protection systems are being inspected and maintained, it would take at least six hours for crews to respond to the Burnaby Mountain site because the terminal operator does not have a mutual aid agreement with the Burnaby Fire Department.

“This situation should be corrected,” the audit noted. The response time is expected to be four hours.

The audit also found that “not all requirements” were met for fire alarm, foam systems and water-based systems.

In a preamble to the report, the National Energy Board said it was auditing the Trans Mountain facility for “regulatory requirements” and not industry practices for fire protection.

The regulator also notes that Trans Mountain’s response to a fire at its tank farms is expected to begin immediately, before outside fire personnel could reach the site and that “unannounced safety exercises” will take place to make sure the site is prepared.

Trans Mountain is at the heart of several court cases. The City of Burnaby has been granted leave to intervene in the B.C. government’s appeal of a ruling that said it could not regulate bitumen that flowed through the province.

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Note: This is a corrected story. A previous version identified Svend Robinson as the MP for Burnaby North–Seymour. He is in fact running for the New Democrats to win that seat in the 2019 federal election.


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