North Okanagan lumber mill processing orders again following huge blaze | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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North Okanagan lumber mill processing orders again following huge blaze

A fire that started in a lumber yard along Highway 97 caused the road's closure, June 3, 2021.
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June 12, 2021 - 6:00 AM

It’s back to work at a North Okanagan lumber yard that was ravaged by fire last week.

An intense fire began at a mill and lumber yard along Highway 97 in Spallumcheen, June 3, destroying lumber and temporarily closing the highway. At its peak, it reached roughly four-hectares in size.

The mill's owner Marv Crombie, with Mardan Enterprises Ltd., said half of the major equipment and smaller equipment needed to operate the yard was lost in the blaze but they're back to work. All of the lumber went up in flames.

READ MORE: Crews contain wildfire sparked by lumber mill blaze north of Vernon

There’s been no final answers regarding the insurance company, but Crombie feels confident the damage will be covered.

The fire started in a filing room next to the main office but the cause is still unknown at this time.

Orders are slowly being processed and customers can expect a two to three-week delay, he said.

“The neighbours did very well to help us on the property,” Crombie said. “Thanks to the firefighters and forestry for helping to keep it contained and for mopping up.”

Sheldon Matte, with neighbouring business Dead or Alive Auto Recycling, said in a previous interview with iNFOnews, that workers built a dirt barrier between the lumber yard and the recycling business to keep the fire from spreading.

Armstrong-Spallumcheen Fire Department Fire Chief Ian Cummings said along with his crew, fire departments from BX-Swan Lake, Coldstream and the Okanagan Indian Band, along with the B.C. Wildfire Service battled the blaze.

The fire was mostly contained to the lumber yard but did spread into the trees on the east side of the property, he said. The owner and employees were able to move some equipment before firefighters arrived.

“The fuel load was incredible. You had all that cut lumber stacked there and we didn’t have the resources initially to really attack that, we just tried to keep it contained,” Cummings said.

Firefighters initially tried to protect the lumber but it was just too hot, he added.


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