Firefighters respond to a fire at the Paper Excellence mill on Stamp Avenue on Jan. 4. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Firefighters respond to a fire at the Paper Excellence mill on Stamp Avenue on Jan. 4. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Paper machine catches fire at Vancouver Island mill

No one was hurt in fire, says company’s general manager

No one was hurt after a fire erupted Monday morning, Jan. 4, 2021, in one of the paper machines at Paper Excellence Canada in Port Alberni.

“We had a paper fire on the No. 4 paper machine in the dryer section,” Paper Excellence Canada Alberni division general manager Marc Bodin confirmed. Fire crews from Port Alberni Fire Department, Sproat Lake and Cherry Creek volunteer fire departments as well as BC Ambulance were on scene shortly before 10:30 a.m. and the fire was quickly knocked down.

Firefighters stayed on site until well into the afternoon watching for flare-ups and hot spots. Bodin said no one was hurt in the incident.

READ: Fire halts work at Catalyst Paper in Port Alberni

“There was a lot of smoke. What happens when you have a fire on a paper machine is there’s very large fans that remove (moisture) in the dryer,” Bodin explained. When a fire happens the fans are immediately shut off to limit oxygen getting to the flames. That creates a lot more smoke and cuts down the flames, he added.

“There was excellent response from both our own crews here at the mill and the local fire departments.”

The fans aren’t turned back on until the fire department gives the all-clear, which didn’t happen until after noon in this particular case.

Bodin said preliminary checks indicate damage was not extensive. “It looks like there was minimal damage to the machine itself.”

The No. 5 machine remains in production.

READ: Paper Excellence invests $13M in upgrades for Port Alberni paper mill

The same No. 4 paper machine also suffered a fire in the dryer in March 2019 just before Paper Excellence Canada took over ownership of Catalyst Paper.

Bodin said he doesn’t anticipate Monday’s fire affecting the Alberni plant’s overall production. “We’re not expecting any significant down time or loss of production as a result,” he said.

Paper Excellence announced in December that it will invest $13 million upgrading the mill’s two paper machines to increase food grade paper production. Upgrades are due to start later in January and wrap up in late 2021.



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

firePORT ALBERNI

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

Just Posted

The City of Nanaimo is looking at spending another $400,000 on security throughout downtown in 2021, with a focus on overnight security. (Stock photo)
City of Nanaimo looks at increasing downtown security

Council members will consider $400,000 increase in 2021, $1.45 million in 2022

‘Nanaimo’ will be spelled out in five-foot-tall letters upon a slab of concrete overlooking Swy-a-Lana Lagoon at Maffeo Sutton Park. (Greg Sakaki/The News Bulletin)
Five-foot-tall letters spelling out ‘Nanaimo’ coming to Maffeo Sutton Park

$50,000-project expected to be installed by the end of April

Nanaimo RCMP hope the public can help find a 37-year-old man who was last seen early Tuesday, April 13. (Photo submitted)
RCMP searching for missing Nanaimo man

Friends, family of Robert William Sport, 37, extremely concerned for his safety and well-being

Guy Black passed through Nanaimo on Tuesday, April 13, on a 300-kilometre walk from Tofino to Langley to commemorate the contribution Canadian troops made in the Korean War battle of Kapyon in April 1951. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Man’s 300-kilometre walk commemorates Korean War battle

Guy Black walking from Tofino to Langley to honour veterans

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

A Nanaimo man will serve nine months in jail for the sexual assault of a young girl he admitted to having committed more than 40 years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo man sentenced for sexually abusing girl more than 40 years ago

Man, now 71, gets nine-month sentence for abuse of friend’s daughter

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo teen arrested a day after allegedly assaulting and bullying victim

Teen taken into custody after wielding weapon and threatening driver at scene of car crash

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photo courtesy Ella Smiley)
Orcas near the beach thrill whale watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Most Read