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)

Welding mishap causes San Group mill fire, says Port Alberni fire chief

A passerby saw flames shooting out the roof of a building at 2 a.m.

A large industrial fire at a construction site in Port Alberni last week was accidentally caused by welding, according to the Port Alberni Fire Department (PAFD).

Alberni Valley fire crews responded to the blaze at approximately 2 a.m. on Wednesday, April 29. The building was located on a site where the San Group is building a remanufacturing plant at Stamp Avenue and Roger Street. The initial call came from a local passerby.

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

“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 PAFD 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.

The Office of the Fire Commissioner was invited to attend the scene and assist the PAFD in its investigation. According to Owens, the fire was determined to be accidental.

“On the evening before the fire, [employees] were doing some welding, installing cable tray brackets,” said Owens on Monday, May 4. “After going through the fire scene with the investigative team, we determined that the fire originated in the area where that welding had been taking place.”

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 MORE: San Group buys speciality sawmill in Port Alberni

The building that burned down on Wednesday 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 has already been 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.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

fire

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

 

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)

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Alberni Valley’s Emergency Operations Centre is located around the corner and below the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District office. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District tests new mobile alert system

Residents can still sign up for free Voyent Alert! emergency messaging

Crews respond to a structure fire in the 6000 block of Renton Road in Cherry Creek on Saturday, Feb. 27. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Workshop destroyed in Cherry Creek fire

Crews stayed on scene overnight fighting ‘stubborn’ blaze

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Tax error in 2020 means lower rate for residents in 2021

Alberni’s taxation for regional library accidently written down twice

Part of a new housing development proposal for the former Alberni District Secondary School site. (SCREENSHOT)
Housing gap widens in Port Alberni

Vancouver Island city suffers from ‘missing middle’ to housing density

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

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

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Most Read