August 12, 2014 12:34 pm

UPDATE: Mill fire in Coldstream

Jim Lenton

COLDSTREAM, B.C. – Staff at Coldstream Lumber on Ricardo Road watched crews from four local fire departments battle a blaze that started after 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

“It’s definitely scary,” says worker Cal Scheske. “I’ve worked at mills all my life and it’s the first fire I’ve ever seen in a mill.”

Coldstream fire chief Shane Code says when fire crews arrived, workers had gotten out and were actively trying to fight the fire with small hoses.

Story continues below

Colstream, Lavington, Lumby and BX-Swan Lake fire departments were all on scene Tuesday morning.

“With a fire like this and this much fuel in mid-August with it being this dry, there is no point in taking any chances. We just needed to put a lot of big water on a big fire,” says Code.

By Tuesday afternoon fire fighters had contained the fire to the kiln building.

However, crews were still dousing the site with water and using a backhoe and an excavator to expose hot spots.

Code is expecting fire crews to be on scene until Tuesday evening.

“Just pulling it apart, cooling it down. I hope to stop operations by early evening and turn it over to security. Probably keep a fire watch on it all night long until the investigator comes tomorrow morning,” he adds.

The kiln building was destroyed, the outside of another structure melted and Code says several thousand dollars of stacked product was lost.

However, fire crews were able to keep the flames away from other parts of the operation.

Code says it is too early to say what may have caused the fire.

“We have at this point no eyewitness accounts of how the fire started. That will be part of the investigative phase,” he says.

The kilns are used for drying wood and staff say they were not in use at the time of the fire.

Code was asked about reports that explosions were heard.

“Could be anything. There [are] a lot of machinery and heavy objects in there so as the building starts to collapse there are a lot of bangs. There [are] refrigeration units in the kiln with small amounts of refrigeration gases and essentially it could have been those,” says Code. “There is nothing in there that would cause me concern after checking with management.”

Code says one staff member suffered smoke inhalation injuries.

 

COLDSTREAM, B.C. – Staff at Coldstream Lumber on Ricardo Road watched crews from four local fire departments fight a blaze that started after 9 a.m. Tuesday.

“It’s definitely scary,” says worker Cal Scheske. “I’ve worked at mills all my life and it’s the first fire I’ve ever seen in a mill.”

Coldstream fire chief Shane Code says when fire crews arrived workers were out of plant and were actively trying to fight the fire with small hoses.

Colstream, Lavington, Lumby and BX-Swan Lake fire departments were all on scene Tuesday morning.

“With a fire like this and this much fuel in mid-August with it being this dry, there is no point in taking any chances. We just needed to put a lot of big water on a big fire,” says Code.

By 11 a.m.  Code said fire crews had basically quarantined the fire to the main kiln building.

The kilns are used for drying wood and staff say they were not in use at the time of the fire.

Code says it is too early to say what may have caused the fire.

“We have at this point no eye witness accounts of how the fire started. That will be part of the investigative phase,” he says.

Code was asked about reports that explosions were heard.

“Could be anything. There is a lot of machinery and heavy objects in there so as the building starts to collapse there are a lot of bangs. There is refrigeration units in the kiln with small amounts of refrigeration gases and essentially it could have been those,” says Code. “There is nothing in there that would cause me concern after checking with management.”

Code says one staff member suffered smoke inhalation.

He says it will be hours before the blaze is fully extinguished.

“It’s going to smoke and smolder all day and into tonight too,” says Code.

Report an error

Comments