Massive fire engulfs mattress facility on Mitchell Island

A massive fire broke out at Mattress Recycling’s Mitchell Island location, leading to air quality concerns across the region Friday afternoon.

The Richmond Fire Department said the fire broke out just before 2 p.m., sending up a massive wall of flames and smoke that required seven fire trucks to combat it.

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"The challenge with the building is it was full of combustible mattress material," said Richmond Fire Chief John McGowan. "And there was also a partial collapse of the building."

The building was completely destroyed. No one was injured in the fire and no other businesses in the area were affected.

Mattress Recycling, which employs roughly 50 people, recovers the steel and foam from discarded mattresses and sells it to companies in Vancouver, Alberta and Washington. The salvaged wood is sold to the pulp and paper sector, and mattress cotton is reused locally in the upholstery market.

Because of the fire and the particulates in the air, Metro Vancouver advised Lower Mainland residents to check for the latest air quality readings.

It was the second major fire to hit Mattress Recycling in a little more than two years.

In May 2015, the company’s former Vancouver facility on Sherbrooke Street near SE Marine Drive was completely destroyed by a fire, leaving 45 people temporarily unemployed.

Fabio Scaldaferri, who lives in Vancouver, co-founded the green company in 2008. Business in Vancouver reported that he now recycles 120,000 mattresses a year.

Finding suitable industrial space for the business after the first fire in South Vancouver was a challenge, Scaldaferri told BIV.

“I think there’s a bit of a blind spot in the West. We don’t seem to have what it takes and what industry needs here. It’s pretty concerning. It basically just boils down to a lack of investment, and it’s very frustrating for a business owner in a growing, green business.”

With files from the Vancouver Courier

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