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Chain reaction crash caused by fire under the bridge

Crush on Hwy 1, near Chilliwack, BC
Crush on Hwy 1, near Chilliwack, BCGoogle

A chain-reaction crash which involved a Greyhound bus, happened in the west-bound lane on Hwy 1 near Chilliwack, BC.

Smoke from a campfire under a bridge is being blamed for a 17-vehicle crash that sent14 people to hospital, as morning rush-hour traffic was crossing the Vedder Canal Bridge west of Yale Road on the Trans-Canada Highway.

RCMP Insp. Tim Shields told CTV NEWS there were at least 14 people hurt in the collision, but no reported fatalities.

He confirmed that six of those patients had serious injuries and were transported by ambulance to hospitals in Langley, Abbotsford and Mission.

Shields confirmed a Greyhound bus was involved in the collision that happened as heavy rain came down on the Fraser Valley.

He said 36 passengers on the bus were unable to exit the bus because of a smashed door, but all injuries on board the bus were limited to bumps and bruises. He said the passengers have since been helped off the bus and transported into Vancouver on another bus.

He said the fire created a distraction for drivers, resulting in a rapid slowdown of traffic as vehicles slammed into one another.

He said police believe the campfire was not set by a homeless person camped under the bridge, as earlier reports suggested.

The Vedder River is a well-known salmon fishing destination, and people fishing in the river, often set a fire to warm up.

The Chilliwack Fire Department confirmed that firefighters are regularly called out to the area for “burning complaints” – sometimes small campfires set by partying teenagers.