NEWS

Cranbrook mill destroyed by fire

11/02/2012 12:29 EDT | Updated 01/02/2013 05:12 EST
Firefighters are mopping up after a fire destroyed the Tembec planer mill in Cranbrook, B.C. on Thursday night.

The fire broke out just before 10 p.m. PT and firefighters quickly realized they could not save it. Instead they worked to stop flames from spreading across the 36-hectare property.

The mill had not been operational for several years and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Stetski said he was thankful nobody was working at the mill when the fire broke out.

"If there is sort of one upside is that there was nobody working there. The mill hasn't been operational for about five years so the really good news story is that there are no injuries and it isn't the kind of catastrophe that for example has happened in Prince George."

Tembec closed the sawmill at the site in 1998, the planer mill in 2010, and the kilns were permanently shut down in May.

The company received just over $100,000 from the Ministry of Forests in July to pinpoint and clean up any contamination issues on the property.

Tembec issued a notice in September calling for bidders to buy and dispose of the planer mill, kilns and other items.

The mill is the fifth to burn down in B.C. in the past year. Fire destroyed a mill in Ruskin, east of Maple Ridge in August and another in Abbotsford in May.

Two other mills were destroyed in suspected dust explosions in Prince George and Burns Lake earlier in the year, killing four workers and injuring dozens of others.

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