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

Parksville rider to join alumni for modified Tour de Rock

Roberts pleased to again be involved in Canadian Cancer Society’s Cops for Cancer event

Qualicum Beach roundabout project would cost nearly $2M

Town to apply for funds to cover $1.79M of the total

Protesters in Parksville demand change to current B.C. forest practices

Approximately 50 people march along Island Highway

Town of Qualicum Beach defers discussions with preservation society regarding wetlands

CAO says registered covenant will protect land in perpetuity

Qualicum Beach seek funds for $4.5M community field project

Turf surface would allow for new sporting activities

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Woodgrove Centre posts plans to make masks and temperature checks mandatory

Nanaimo mall advises in letter to customers that rules will come into effect Monday, Sept. 21

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Motor home burns up at north Nanaimo intersection

No one hurt in incident Friday morning at old Island Highway, Rutherford Road and Mostar Road

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Nanaimo residents ticketed for putting garbage bins out early

Conservation officers say they issued seven tickets this week, as concerns about bears increase

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Most Read