Pinnacle’s Smithers Pellet plant. Thom Barker photo

Spark causes fire in Smithers pellet plant dryer

Third Smithers fire in 10 days raises concern for firefighting volunteers

The Smithers Fire Department was called out to a structure fire at the Pinnacle pellet plant early Friday morning.

Approximately 25 firefighters responded at around 3:30 a.m.

“When we are arrived, we were told it was in the dryer within the pellet plant. The sprinkler system within the plant operated,” said Fire Chief Keith Stecko.

“What appeared to have happened, a spark had gotten into the system and tripped the fire system to allow the sprinkler system to operate.”

There were no injuries.

This is the third fire in the past 10 days in Smithers.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, Oct. 20 a fire gutted one apartment and seriously damaged an apartment building on the corner of Main Street and 12th Avenue. On Oct. 16 a fire consumed the garage of a home on Babine Crescent.

With that unusual number of call outs in such a short period of time, burnout of volunteers is always top of mind for Smithers Fire Rescue.

“We don’t plan for these types of events,” said Stecko. “Our crews are well trained. They are volunteer firefighters. They do have other jobs, there is always that potential for fatigue. We are fortunate enough to have the ability to have crews on call where we can split our department up. Fatigue is always a factor when you are responding to multiple calls.”

The cause of the fire on 12th Avenue is still under investigation.

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