WLLIAMS LAKE, B.C. — Tolko is assessing the damage to its Lakeview sawmill in Williams Lake, B.C., following a fire that took days to completely extinguish.
The fire began on Nov. 2 about 6:30 p.m. The fire was mostly extinguished by the following evening, but flare-ups continued for several days. An update from Tolko on the evening of Nov. 6 stated: “The fire at Williams Lake proved itself stubborn as flare-ups continued over the weekend and into early Monday morning. The fire, located largely in the offices’ section of the sawmill, continued to burn between the ceiling and roof. Given the location of the fire, it was difficult to get at from the outside and we could not safely access to fight the fire from inside the building.”
Structural engineers have begun to asses the damage and determine the integrity of the building. The assessment will help the company determine its recovery plan for the mill. Tolko CEO Brad Thorlakson and members of the executive were in Williams Lake on Nov. 6 to survey the damage and speak to employees.
The planer at Lakeview is located in a separate building, and has resumed operations.
A statement from the company praised employees for their response to the emergency. “Thanks to their calm and quick efforts last evening, the site evacuation went smoothly and there were no injuries.”
Tolko’s Lakeview Division employs approximately 170 full-time and casual employees and produces around 240 mbf per year.