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Local business steps up to help staff of burned out factory

Northern Lite Mfg. was completely destroyed by fire early Wednesday morning.
February 28, 2014 - 3:47 PM

KELOWNA - When the president of Campion Marine, Brock Elliott, saw the extent of the devastation caused by Wednesday’s fire at Northern Lite, he knew he had to try and help.

Northern Lite Mfg. was completely destroyed by fire early Wednesday morning.  The cause has not yet been determined, but the effect it has had on staff is profound. Roughly 25 employees of the camper-building business are out of work until a new space can be found. What’s worse, the company, which has been producing campers for more than 20 years, has an order for 26 campers to fill. And the deadline is only three months away.

 “It’s bloody awful. There’s just nothing left,” Elliott says. “When you’re in the fibreglass business like we are, (fire) is always one of your fears. It’s probably the worst nightmare you could have.”

Although Elliott had never met the owner of Northern Lite Mac Donkin before, he says the moment he saw the extent of the devastation, he resolved to do everything possible to help out his neighbour.

Many similarities exist between the manufacturing of boats and the manufacturing of campers, says Elliott. Both are made from a mix of fibreglass and resin, which is formed using large moulds. And both campers and boats are usually made in two parts, which are then joined together. The rest is adding electrical, upholstery and finish work, all of which Campion Marine does on a daily basis.

“It’s quite similar to a boat where you have a hull and a deck and you put the two together,” Elliott says. “The only real difference is they build them to go on the back of a pickup and we’re building them to go on the water.”

Elliott made contact with Donkin the day of the fire. He says three people from Northern Lite came into his shop and were surprised to find out that Campion was willing to avail to them their shop, their staff and the materials they would need to meet their order deadline.

“They’ve got a contract that they’d really like to make by May,” Elliott says. “They’re reputation is on the line so we’ll do what we can.”

Elliott says his motive behind the generous offer is simple.

“It’s the right thing to do,” he says. “They make a great product and have a great reputation so it would be a shame to see the business not continue on.”

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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