Firefighters are battling a barge fire in the Silverdale area on the Fraser River.

UPDATED: Mission firefighters battling barge fire

A barge on the Fraser River in the Silverdale area is currently ablaze

A fire Monday afternoon on a barge moored in the Fraser River in Silverdale will be left to burn itself out.

Mission Fire/Rescue Service was called just after 3 p.m. after some cardboard, pallets, plastics and other materials caught fire on a barge off McLean Street where workers were cutting up some steel, said duty chief Blaine Odenbach.

The barge is not located near the derelict ferry. The former Queen of Sidney BC Ferry is moored several hundred metres east of the incident, just off of Cooper Avenue. (See map below)

An excavator on the deck also caught fire, he said, which caused massive columns of smoke to billow hundreds of feet into the air and were visible from the Mission Bridge.

Firefighters from all three Mission stations spent two hours trying to get to the seat of the fire, but were unable to as the fire had spread below decks.

“We can’t access below and it would be unsafe” to send firefighters down there, said Odenbach.

The barge began to sink from the volume of water aimed at the burning vessel, and a hole in the stern caused the fire department to halt operations just after 5:30 p.m.

The fire is still burning, and will likely continue to for at least another couple of days, he estimated.