At approximately 7:22 a.m. on March 6, 2012 the Burns Lake Fire and Rescue department and the Burns Lake RCMP were called to a structure fire at the Hampton Affiliates, Decker Lake Forest Products sawmill.
The B.C. Ambulance Service, BC Hydro and Pacific Northern Gas also attended the scene.
The blaze reportedly started in a portion of the planer mill and approximately 50 employees were working on site at the time of the fire.
“The fire was contained by the sawmill employees and due to their quick response and training they were able to prevent the fire from spreading and causing further damage to the sawmill. The fire was not deemed suspicious in nature,” said St. Sgt. Grant MacDonald from the Burns Lake RCMP.
At least one Decker Lake Forest Products employee was treated at the scene by paramedics for smoke inhalation and no further injuries were reported.
Steve Zika, Hampton Affiliates chief economic officer said to Lakes District News, “We blew a fuse in the planer facility and when we shut down the power, a heater in the planer grading room started a small fire.”
He said the crew reacted well and added that the fire was already extinguished when the Burns Lake Fire and Rescue department crew arrived. “We appreciate the fast response from our employees and local authorities,” he said.
Zika said the fire was just a minor deal, but was a shock to everyone after the Babine Forest Products explosion and fire.
“An incident like this one at Decker Lake Forest Products is not uncommon in planer mills, but everyone is on high alert.”
He said after the Babine Forest Products tragedy there has been increased clean up activities carried out at Decker Lake Forest Products.
“I think all of the sawmills along Highway 16 have increased their clean up activities after the incident,” he said.
Zika priased the Decker Lake Forest Products employees for their quick response to the fire. “They did a terrific job,” he said, adding that the planer was back in operation around lunch time on March 6.
“Things are going well for Decker Lake Forest Products. We are still running a one shift scenario and we have good amount of orders that is allowing us to run steady,” he said.