Explosions ring out as fire guts Maple Ridge cedar mill
Nafeesa Karim, CTV British Columbia
Published Wednesday, September 25, 2013 9:57AM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 25, 2013 7:59PM PDT
Fire Investigators are expected to take at least several days to determine the cause of an explosion and fire that destroyed a Maple Ridge cedar shake mill early Wednesday morning.
Eight trucks and 30 firefighters arrived at the facility around 1 a.m. to find a fully involved structure fire in the area of the mill where cedar shakes are produced.
Overnight workers at a different mill on the same lot called 911 when they saw the first flames, and doused a giant pile of sawdust between the two buildings with water so the fire wouldn’t spread to their building.
Maple Ridge Fire Dept. Asst. Chief Mark Smitton says about half a dozen propane tanks had exploded inside the cedar mill. The tanks are used to power the forklifts that move the pallets of wood.
The cause is still under investigation, and no injuries have been reported.
Eight people work at the destroyed mill, but there is no overnight shift. The shutdown is devastating for the workers, some of whom have worked at other mills that have closed down.
It is believed there’s a chance the machines used to make the shingles could be saved. They’re metal and could be okay provided they weren’t exposed to too much heat. Damage is estimated at at least $1-million.