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Raincoast Gets White Powder Scare

As if the stress of the recent Harry Potter leak wasn’t enough, the folks at Raincoast Books were trying on their golden underpants (little inside joke there) when they spotted something unusual in a pile of books:

A white powder scare at Raincoast Books shut down production at its Vancouver plant yesterday. The powder, found by employees in a pallet of books, caused two female employees to vomit. Vancouver Fire Department’s Hazardous Material Team was brought in to get samples and test the substance, which showed it to be a mild irritant.

So, more of a WMI, a Weapon of Mild Irritance.

And no, I was not reading that rag 24 Hours. I was searching Google News for ‘Vancouver fire’ to try to discover what this big smoke column was. I’m guessing it was around 15th and Main Street, maybe.

Of course, I should have asked the blogosphere. Kristina already has photos (and here), though Jaqen says it was a Skytrain car that caught on fire. With help from those photos, I was able to identify the location of the fire. I had exactly the right direction, but was way off on distance–Main and 16th is maybe a quarter of the distance between my apartment and the fire’s location.

UPDATE: Here’s a bunch of great photos that Robin Thom took.

10 Responses to “Raincoast Gets White Powder Scare”

  1. filmgoerjuan

    Bah…Colene, Heather and I were over on Main Street doing a photo walk. We saw the smoke, but those two lazykins were too foot draggy to trek on over to see where it was coming from!

  2. Richard

    I saw that smoke at around 7 PM on the bus home and wondered what it was too. Guess it’s a good thing I didn’t decide to take SkyTrain.

  3. Jason Landry

    The fire was at Kingsway and Knight – a few blocks from my house. I saw it from the skytrain in the way home and saw CTVs helicopter buzzing the area. Sure enough, CTV had all kinds of coverage on it, but I can’t find anything on their website.

  4. Anonymous

    I saw the smoke column and ensuing haze driving in from Richmond last night. Interesting that the haze travelled to the west, I always thought winds came in off the ocean. Perhaps it changes in the evening.

    This morning I found a bit on

    Highlights of the piece:
    A produce store, Vietnamese restaurant, and an apartment were involved in the fire. Two firefighters suffered smoke inhalation. The fire was at Kingsway (and probably Knight as they reported last night).

  5. Boris Mann

    Actually, the fire was at Kingsway at Clark — I saw it just as it was starting. It was going incredibly quickly with flames leaping out of the roof.

    Rather than drive past it, we of course got out of the way of all the emergency trucks and took another way home.

  6. alexis

    Whoa. I’m still floored by the stuff that happened at Raincoast. Guess I’ll hear the full story when I go in next week…

  7. Kristina Hockley

    Well both the above postings were right as the fire was between Clark Street and Knight on Kingsway. I smelled the fire shortly after it started and then peddled over to the scene to check it out. Fortunately I had my litte Sony camera. Today I went back to see the destruction and will be posting the photos tonight. Thanks for the press Darren! Nice site btw!

  8. richard

    Your google map is quite a ways off; your guess of Main & 16th was much closer.

  9. Derek

    There is a Kingsway Grocery where Darren had his map, but that’s the one near me in Burnaby. The correct Google Maps location is here. If MSN Virtual Earth ever gets aerial photos of Canada, it may have a deeper zoom of what used to be there, at this address.

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