The charred remnants of the San Group building on Nuupts’ ikapis Way. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

The charred remnants of the San Group building on Nuupts’ ikapis Way. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Fire crews battle industrial fire at San Group construction site in Port Alberni

Four fire departments called out to help extinguish blaze

An industrial fire has caused significant damage to a building on the site where San Group is building a remanufacturing plant in Port Alberni.

Fire crews from Port Alberni, Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Dept., Cherry Creek VFD and Sproat Lake VFD responded to the blaze next to Paper Excellence Canada (formerly Catalyst Paper) at Stamp Avenue and Roger Street at approximately 2 a.m. on Wednesday, April 29. Stamp Avenue was closed to all traffic while crews were on scene. The initial call came from a local passerby.

“The caller reported that there were flames coming through the roof at that time, and certainly when we arrived on scene, we found the same,” said Port Alberni Fire Department fire chief Mike Owens. “Crews were able to quickly establish a water supply and start working on the fire.”

The fire was brought under control a couple of hours later without spreading to any other buildings. Fire crews remained on scene overhauling the fire to ensure nothing flared up again.

It is not known if anyone was on site at the time of the fire, but there were no reported injuries. The cause of the fire is currently unknown. Owens said he is not if there was power to the building at the time of the fire.

“At this point we’ve invited the Office of the Fire Commissioner to attend the scene and assist us in our investigation,” said Owens. “It is a large fire ground and complex investigation, so we want to make sure that we get it right.”

San Group owns 25 acres next to the paper plant, and have spent months and millions of dollars building a remanufacturing facility. They announced late last week that they have also purchased the former Chalwood Forest Products sawmill and are transforming it to cut specialty pieces of lumber in a variety of wood species.

READ: San Group’s remanufacturing plant takes shape in Port Alberni

The building that burned down had housed a finger jointer.

San Group owner Kamal Sanghera said the fire is just a minor setback for their remanufacturing facility.

“We lost a couple of machines, but we’ll do our best to get it back online again,” he said on Wednesday morning.

An engineer is already on site, he added.

The fire will not be affecting any jobs for San Group employees. Most of the employees have been transferred to the Chalwood mill so they can keep their hours, Sanghera said.

“It’s one step backward,” said Sanghera. “But we’ll turn it into a positive.”

RELATED: San Group buys specialty sawmill in Port Alberni

This is the second structure fire in two days that the Port Alberni Fire Department has responded to. In the early hours of Tuesday, April 28, they responded to a duplex fire on 14th Avenue that displaced one family.



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

fireforestryPort Alberni

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

Just Posted

Two of the heritage buildings from McLean Mill National Historic Site that have been restored at the Port Alberni tourist attraction. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
McLean Mill application breaks new ground for ALC

Process just another ‘misstep’ by city, says critic

Coulson Aviation’s newest Chinook helicopter, N43CU, takes to the air above the Alberni Valley Regional Airport following a complete airframe conversion into a helitanker, April 8, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY BILL MCLEOD)
Coulson Aviation’s newest helitanker takes flight

Converted Chinook helitanker off to U.S. for new paint job

Dave Cusson, Community Policing Manager with the City of Port Alberni, offers some tips for pedestrian safety in a Community Policing video. (SCREENSHOT)
City of Port Alberni on way to dubious pedestrian safety record

Pedestrian crashes a growing concern in Port Alberni

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

The PAGo Grannies have a table set up at a farmer’s market to sell handcrafted items to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
PAGo Grannies promote nationwide concert for Stephen Lewis Foundation

Register online to watch Together in Concert starting April 15

Homicide investigators who asked not to be identified put up signs Wednesday, April 14, along the Nanaimo Parkway in the area where a body was found March 31. RCMP are asking for witnesses or dash cam footage as the suspicious death has now been ruled a homicide. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Suspicious death along the highway in Nanaimo now being investigated as a murder

RCMP identify victim as Randell Charles Thomas, repeat call for any information related to the case

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
WATCH: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among the encouraged ventilation measures

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

MP Todd Doherty took to Facebook after his family recently received threats. (Todd Doherty, MP Facebook photo)
‘I don’t run and I don’t hide’: Cariboo MP says RCMP probing threats made against family

Todd Doherty has also notified House of Commons Protective Services

Two men walk past a sign on Main Street in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calls for government transparency in COVID data continue as B.C.’s 3rd wave wears on

Social media, where both information and misinformation can spread like wildfire, has not helped

The music video for “Green and Blue” featured a Willington Care Centre in Burnaby as well as some of the volunteers and employees. (Screenshot/Todd Richard)
‘Green and Blue’: B.C. country musician releases tribute song for front-line workers

Richard’s new single has been viewed more than 3,000 times on his YouTube channel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read