Emergency crews, seen here Friday morning, have been on the scene battling a fire at Tolko’s Lakeview sawmill in Williams Lake since Thursday evening. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Crews continue to fight fire at Williams Lake sawmill

Fire crews have been on the scene since Thursday evening fighting a fire at Tolko’s Lakeview sawmill in Williams Lake.

UPDATE: 1:50 p.m. Tolko Industries confirmed Friday afternoon that firefighters remain at the Lakeview Mill in Williams Lake where a fire broke out at the sawmill about 6:20 p.m. Thursday.

“As their efforts continue, we want to inform employees that the mill — sawmill and planer — will not operate today,” communications advisor Janice Lockyer said. “Supervisors will be contacting employees directly to share additional details as they become available.”

Lockyer said she could not comment on the extent of the damage to the structure at this time, but once the fire is extinguished and there is an examination of the affected areas by a structural engineer, Tolko will be able to share more information.

“We anticipate this assessment will occur over the weekend and into next week,” Lockyer said.

Expressing gratitude for the effort of everyone involved with combatting and containing the fire, Lockyer said crews have done exceptional work containing and mitigating the impact of the blaze.

She also praised the onsite employees for their “calm and quick efforts” Thursday evening, noting the site evacuation went smoothly and there were no injuries.

“Our priority now is to ensure the fire is out, that our employees understand what happens next, and that we can begin the work to put a recovery plan in place to return the mill to operations,” Lockyer said.

Tolko’s Lakeview Division employs approximately 175 employees.

Emergency crews continue to battle a fire at Tolko’s Lakeview sawmill in Williams Lake Friday morning that erupted Thursday evening around 6:30 p.m.

Original story: The 150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Department arrived Thursday evening to assist the Williams Lake Fire Department, already on scene.

At around 10:30 p.m. Thursday the company’s communications advisor Janice Lockyer confirmed in a written statement that there was an active fire, but that no one was injured and the safety of the employees was the top priority.

“At this time, the situation remains active and the extent of the damage is unknown,” Lockyer said.

United Steelworkers Union Local 2017 first vice president Paul French said workers at the mill were all sent home at about 8 p.m. Thursday and the power was cut off.

“I don’t want to speculate, but I know the sawmill got scorched pretty good,” French said Friday morning. “I haven’t heard anything from the company yet, but I think they are trying to assess what the heck is going on and how badly the equipment got burnt.”

Logging trucks are going in there Friday morning, and there are people on site, he added.

The fire comes after a summer that saw the company’s operations curtailed for several weeks and timber stands impacted because of the wildfires.

“It’s not good,” French said of the mill fire, noting about 180 unionized employees work in the mill. “A lot of people’s lives depend on the mill.”

As of Friday morning the Tribune had not received an update from Tolko.

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

 

Fire crews are still on scene at Tolko’s Lakeview sawmill in Williams Lake. Angie Mindus photo

Just Posted

The track washrooms will be opened up again next year in May. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Toilets, sinks torn off, graffiti on walls at the Burns Lake track washroom

“Seems to happen once or twice a year” says the Village CAO on the vandalized track washroom

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, Cullen apologize for Stikine candidate’s comments about Haida candidate

Nathan Cullen had made insensitive comments about Roy Jones Jr. Cheexial

The pile burning will occur to the south of François Lake. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
Pile burning and rehab work on three areas south of François Lake

Smoke might be visible for Burns Lake and neighboring areas

Participants earlier this year in March for Lakes Loppet at the ski club. (Lakes District News file photo)
How is Omineca Ski Club prepping for this ski season?

Covid restrictions, social distancing but ski season to continue

FOR WEB ONLY. (Lakes District News file photo)
Question Bill C-7, says this reader

Editor: Have you ever felt strongly convicted about something one day and… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
2 years after huge highway acid spill, Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

Most Read