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.

 

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

Just Posted

Families of missing Shuswap women call for action

Birthday of missing woman Ashley Simpson remembered during rally in Yankee Flats

Nasty note on windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

CPR a vital link in saving man’s life

Vernon man’s life saved by strangers performing CPR following heart attack on golf course

Flag person struck by car

Highway 6 re-opened following five-hour closure

Missing woman smart, courageous, lovable

Mother says Caitlin Potts trying to overcome foster care experience

Powerful life force in ‘miracle dog’

Winston beats odds and lives on, saves owner’s life

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Interior Health expands meningococcal precautions in South Okanagan

Oliver, Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls included in the expanded precautionary immunization measure

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

MP hears municipal wish list

Okanagan Shuswap MP Mel Arnold gathering top priorities as Ottawa prepares 2018 budget

Trudeau mania, Scheer enthusiasm in B.C. this week

Prime minister, Conservative leader drop in on Surrey, White Rock

Forecasters promote avalanche safety awareness to kick off season

Avalanche Canada advising backcountry enthusiasts to get proper training and equipment.

Most Read