Carmen Weld & Flavio Nienow
The town of McBride, located approximately 200 km east of Prince George, is shaken after a fire shut down one of the main employers in town.
A blaze broke out at about 5:15 a.m. on April 5 at BKB Cedar Manufacturing, a post and rail mill that employed 35 people.
“There were no workers on shift at the time of the fire and there were no injuries,” said Scott McCloy with WorkSafeBC.
Firefighters arrived on scene and battled the blaze that reportedly burned all throughout the night and into Thursday April 6.
“At this time, the cause of the fire cannot be speculated on; it is now up to the RCMP,” said McCloy.
An RCMP fire investigator and the Office of the Fire Commissioner were dispatched to the scene. McCloy says WorkSafeBC is not investigating this fire, but does have some requirements for the employer.
“We have directed the employer to conduct an investigation and share its findings with WorkSafeBC,” said McCloy. “We’ve also directed the employer to have the remaining structure inspected and certified as safe prior to any worker going into the hazard area.”
According to McCloy, the site has been inspected regularly by WorkSafeBC officers. The last time the mill was inspected was in September 2016.
“WorkSafeBC has worked productively with this company since the mill opened in 2013,” he added.
Rajpal Basran, president of BKB Cedar Manufacturing, said the mill was completely destroyed in the fire. He added that it’s too early to know if the mill will be rebuilt in the future.
Bob Zimmer, MP for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies, expressed his concern for the community of approximately 600 people.
“This is a massive hit that McBride has taken, the job loss equates to over five per cent of the population and there are many families that will need assistance,” he said. “I was however, very thankful to hear that no one was injured in the blaze.”