Firefighters battle a blaze on the CP Rail bridge over the Columbia River in Revelstoke as black smoke spreads down the river.

Firefighters battle a blaze on the CP Rail bridge over the Columbia River in Revelstoke as black smoke spreads down the river.

UPDATED: CP Rail bridge over Columbia River in Revelstoke re-opens following fire

A fire started on the CP Rail bridge over the Columbia River in Revelstoke on May 4 at around 7 p.m.

The CP Rail bridge over the Columbia River in Revelstoke re-opened Sunday afternoon after crews completed repairs following a fire Saturday evening.

“Work progressed safely throughout the day and after all repairs were complete and track safety inspections were performed, we were able to restore rail service to our main line in Revelstoke late this afternoon and train operations have resumed,’ wrote CP Rail spokesperson Kevin Hrysak in an e-mail Sunday.

Revelstoke firefighters, with help Arrow Helicopters, spent several hours putting out a fire, which started at around 7 p.m. on May 4.

The fire slowly filled the valley with thick black smoke as a northwest wind blew the fumes down the Columbia River.

There was no train on the bridge.

A crowd of people made their way to the Farwell neighbourhood and Woodenhead Park to witness the fire and watch as firefighters moved in to tackle the blaze.

Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services responded in force, with several trucks and 18 firefighters. CP Rail personnel and RCMP also attended.

Firefighters had their snorkel truck spraying water on the bridge. Afterwards, teams of firefighters could be seen working their way along the bridge, spraying water over the flames. Arrow Helicopters pilot Phil Davies flew over the scene to water bomb the fire from the air, accelerating the time it took to extinguish the fire. By around 9 p.m. it was out.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, said Hrysak in an e-mail Sunday morning. He wrote there was damage to the rails and ties on the bridge, and there was no word yet on when the bridge — which is part of CP Rail’s main line to and from the west coast — would be re-opened.

“Our engineering crews were inspecting the bridge early this morning before any work commenced and the appropriate safety inspections will be performed once full repairs are complete and before train operations resume,” he wrote.

Hrysak said the cost of the damage is not known, and that CP Rail was working with customers on shipping delays and routing options while the bridge was closed.