Fire rages through West Fraser Mill

Mike Carter, Chetwynd Echo

CHETWYND – A fire Thursday evening at West Fraser Timber’s Chetwynd Forest Industries destroyed one air compressor and damaged another according to mill Manager Darren Brkic.

There were no injuries reported and the cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

“It could be a number of things but we’re still not sure, not certain what would have caused it,” Brkic said.

Fifteen fire fighters were dispatched to the fire, which began between 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Employees of the mill were the first to respond with fire extinguishers and other equipment they had available holding off the blaze until the Chetwynd Fire Department got to the scene.

The damage sustained was contained to a building separate from the mill itself, which houses several air compressor units. “There was no disruption to the mill,” Brkic said. “ We’re doing an internal investigation and we had WorkSafe BC come to the site as well Friday Morning.”

Fire Chief Leo Sabulsky played down the incident, saying, “it’s an industrial fire, they happen all the time.”

“Basically an air compressor caught fire and there were lots of people around and so we felt they did a really good job. It was contained and it was in the wall [of the air compressor building]. It could have been very dangerous but it wasn’t in the very end and we had ample water. We thank the West Fraser people for working so hard at extinguishing it, they helped a great deal.”

The costs of the damages are not yet known, Brkic said. “It will come out more as we start to repair things and do the cost tracking.”

He expects West Fraser will replace the destroyed air compressor, so that the local mill will not have to shoulder the cost of a brand new one, which can run into the thousands of dollars.