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Slow burn at Canoe Forest Products plywood plant
It was a slow burn that took firefighters from all four halls in the Salmon Arm Fire Department several hours to extinguish.
Firefighters from Hall 1 were dispatched to nearby Canoe Forest Products at 6:42 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20.
Assistant fire chief Rod Macfarlane said what was dispatched as a container fire, was actually smoke emanating from a very large chip bin.
“Because of the amount of stuff in the chip bins and limited access, we had to spend a lot of time to empty the bins and water down the chips,” says Macfarlane noting that when the chips were exposed to oxygen, smoulder turned to outright fire. “We were able to confine it to the bins, limiting loss and damage to other equipment and nearby structures.”
Loaders operated by mill staff were used to empty small amounts of chips at a time from three very large bins or hoppers so firefighters could spray them down.
“We’re not sure exactly what the ignition source was, but the fire wasn’t going anywhere and the mill was operational,” says Macfarlane, noting firefighters from four halls were coming and going as they were able leave their jobs to work on the fire. “It took a long time to complete the task.”
Deemed accidental, Macfarlane says firefighters were on scene until just after 1 p.m.
There was damage to some of the running gears and wiring, which were scorched, he says.
Company wood manager Mike Johnson said he is unable to comment at this time because of an ongoing investigation.