Flames can be seen from part of the mill structure at Alberni Pacific Division Sawmill in Port Alberni

Western Forest Products mill fire under investigation

WorkSafe BC, the Port Alberni Fire Department and WFP are investigating a fire in the bag house at the APD mill in Alberni on Thursday.

Officials from WorkSafe BC are investigating the cause of a fire at the Alberni Pacific Division mill in Port Alberni.

WorkSafe investigators were at the mill on Friday, spokesperson Alley Skinner-Reynolds said. “Our officers are determining if there has been any violation of health and safety regulations and examining the cause of the fire,” Skinner-Reynolds said.

Fires aren’t uncommon at mills. But there is a heightened sensitivity about sawmill fires after workers were killed or injured in explosions at sawmills in Burns Lake and in Prince George this year.

A number of new measures were instituted at mills B.C. wide as a result of those incidents. “We’ll also be looking to see if those measures were adhered to,” Skinner-Reynolds said.

The Port Alberni Fire Department and Western Forest Products are conducting their own investigations as well. “We’re told that staff saw sparks emanating from a fan but we haven’t determined a cause yet,” Port Alberni Fire Chief Tim Pley said.

A mill official confirmed that a planer at the operation is out of service for a week but that the rest of the mill is operational.

On Thursday night, the Port Alberni Fire Department responded to calls about a blaze at APD at 5 p.m. Sproat Lake and Beaver Creek volunteer departments responded as part of an automatic mutual aid page at 5:20 p.m.

The fire was located in the sawdust cyclone, or bag house portion of the mill, Pley said.

Sawdust and woodchips are collected from throughout the mill and deposited via ducting and conveyor belt into the bag house, Pley said. “Fires are hard to get at when they are in there,” he said.

WFP staff stopped the air flow from fanning the flames, cut the power to the area then controlled the blaze before fire fighting personnel arrived.

From there, firefighters spent several hours extinguishing the blaze. They then inspected the ductwork, going through each hatch and dousing the inside with water to drown any glowing embers.

Firefighters remained on the scene for three more hours as a safety precaution, finally leaving the scene at 2 a.m., Pley said.

This is the third incident that firefighters have responded to this year at APD. One incident was a false alarm and another involved a fire started by hot works, Pley said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Twitter.com/AlberniNews

Just Posted

Ottawa singer songwriter Victor Nesrallah plays Char’s Landing July 22

VIA Rail’s latest ‘artist on board’ takes first Vancouver Island tour

Green housing project sparks interest in Port Alberni

Maitland Street multi-family residence raises bar on affordability

Port Alberni ponders adding office spaces to Harbour Quay

Waterfront space is currently zoned for retail and tourism

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Sproat Ness Dragons win dragon boat bronze in Nanaimo

First year for Port Alberni dragon boating team

VIDEO: Sproat Lake hosts annual regatta

2018 Alberni Valley event featured two days of boat racing action

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

VIDEO: Life’s a beach at this B.C. sand sculpting contest

More than $50,000 was up for grabs at the annual contest held in Parksville

Most Read