Emergency crews, seen here Friday morning, have been on the scene battling a fire at Tolko’s Lakeview sawmill in Williams Lake since Thursday evening. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Crews continue to fight fire at Williams Lake sawmill

Fire crews have been on the scene since Thursday evening fighting a fire at Tolko’s Lakeview sawmill in Williams Lake.

UPDATE: 1:50 p.m. Tolko Industries confirmed Friday afternoon that firefighters remain at the Lakeview Mill in Williams Lake where a fire broke out at the sawmill about 6:20 p.m. Thursday.

“As their efforts continue, we want to inform employees that the mill — sawmill and planer — will not operate today,” communications advisor Janice Lockyer said. “Supervisors will be contacting employees directly to share additional details as they become available.”

Lockyer said she could not comment on the extent of the damage to the structure at this time, but once the fire is extinguished and there is an examination of the affected areas by a structural engineer, Tolko will be able to share more information.

“We anticipate this assessment will occur over the weekend and into next week,” Lockyer said.

Expressing gratitude for the effort of everyone involved with combatting and containing the fire, Lockyer said crews have done exceptional work containing and mitigating the impact of the blaze.

She also praised the onsite employees for their “calm and quick efforts” Thursday evening, noting the site evacuation went smoothly and there were no injuries.

“Our priority now is to ensure the fire is out, that our employees understand what happens next, and that we can begin the work to put a recovery plan in place to return the mill to operations,” Lockyer said.

Tolko’s Lakeview Division employs approximately 175 employees.

Emergency crews continue to battle a fire at Tolko’s Lakeview sawmill in Williams Lake Friday morning that erupted Thursday evening around 6:30 p.m.

Original story: The 150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Department arrived Thursday evening to assist the Williams Lake Fire Department, already on scene.

At around 10:30 p.m. Thursday the company’s communications advisor Janice Lockyer confirmed in a written statement that there was an active fire, but that no one was injured and the safety of the employees was the top priority.

“At this time, the situation remains active and the extent of the damage is unknown,” Lockyer said.

United Steelworkers Union Local 2017 first vice president Paul French said workers at the mill were all sent home at about 8 p.m. Thursday and the power was cut off.

“I don’t want to speculate, but I know the sawmill got scorched pretty good,” French said Friday morning. “I haven’t heard anything from the company yet, but I think they are trying to assess what the heck is going on and how badly the equipment got burnt.”

Logging trucks are going in there Friday morning, and there are people on site, he added.

The fire comes after a summer that saw the company’s operations curtailed for several weeks and timber stands impacted because of the wildfires.

“It’s not good,” French said of the mill fire, noting about 180 unionized employees work in the mill. “A lot of people’s lives depend on the mill.”

As of Friday morning the Tribune had not received an update from Tolko.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Fire crews are still on scene at Tolko’s Lakeview sawmill in Williams Lake. Angie Mindus photo

Just Posted

Affordable apartments planned for Nanaimo’s Brechin Hill neighbourhood

Proposed development would be near Terminal Park plaza and B.C. Ferries’ Departure Bay terminal

Storm score a Game 2 win against Buccaneers

VIJHL playoff series between Nanaimo and Campbell River tied 1-1

Wee Tipple Party whiskies and fine foods nourish Nanaimo’s performing arts

Crimson Coast Dance fundraiser happens Friday, March 6, at the Grand Hotel

‘Going green’ en vogue for Prom Closet Nanaimo

Non-profit event looking to make high school prom less cost-prohibitive goes March 5-7

VIU and Nanaimo high schools host Skills Canada competitions

Central Island and Sunshine Coast high school student compete for spots on provincials and nationals

Beefs & Bouquets, Feb. 27

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo woman to compete in new season of ‘Big Brother Canada’

Carol Rosher, a cancer survivor, is one of 16 houseguests appearing on reality TV show

Nanaimo teen to audition on ‘American Idol’ on Sunday’s episode

Lauren Spencer-Smith will be auditioning in front of judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Lawyer gets house arrest for possessing child porn

Maple Ridge resident gets nine-month term

Most Read