The Canfor sawmill in Houston was evacuated yesterday when a major blaze started in one of six older kilns built in the 1960s.
Firefighters worked through the night to extinguish the fire, which started at about 4:50 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.
Houston RCMP Sgt. Stephen Rose said nobody was injured and all staff were evacuated safely to a muster point, where four officers conducted a head-count.
He said arson had been ruled out as a cause of the fire.
“We conducted some follow-up with employees that were in and around the area at the time the fire broke out and, as a result, deemed it not to be criminal in nature,” said Sgt. Rose.
Canfor Corporation external affairs director Corinne Stavness said in an email the blaze started in one of the sawmill’s six older kilns, which were built in the 1960s.
She said all of the older kilns were destroyed in the fire, but the mill’s newer kilns, sawmill and planer were not damaged.
“The impact to the operation therefore is limited to the loss of drying capacity for lumber, and we are looking at mitigation options here while we rebuild the kilns on site,” she said.
Only three of the six older kilns were operational at the time of the fire.
Stavness thanked the Houston Fire Department for their quick response to the fire.
“The fire was extinguished and we sincerely appreciate their support,” she said.
“We also thank our employees who managed the incident with professionalism and kept safety as their first priority, ensuring no injuries to our team.”
The company would not provide more information at this time.
Houston Fire Department fire chief Jim Daigneault could not be reached this morning.