Clean up efforts begin following fire at Tolko mill


Clean up efforts begin following fire at Tolko mill

[VERNON, BC] July 12, 2010 – Crews continue to mop up spot fires at Tolko Industries Ltd.’s Armstrong Division. The fire, which began Sunday afternoon, was contained to the hog pile and log yard.

Pat Donnelly, Site Manager, Armstrong Division, expressed appreciation for the broad effort. “We are very thankful everyone involved is safe and well,” said Donnelly. “The actions by our employees, contractors, neighbours and emergency crews from throughout the region, including the air support, was crucial.”

The sawmill, plywood, and cogeneration facilities on site are not damaged. Early assessment indicates fire destroyed one bulldozer along with a portion of the log inventory.

The fire began at the hog pile, but actual cause is still being investigated. “A wet spring followed by intense heat can generate spontaneous combustion and that will be investigated as a potential cause,” said Donnelly. “High winds exacerbated the situation.”

Hog pile management practices will be reviewed once the investigation is complete.

Employees are assisting with the clean up effort which is expected to continue for several days. Operations remain suspended. “We will restart facilities and bring everyone back as soon as it is completely safe to do so,” said Donnelly.

“Thank you to all those in this community response, from the Salvation Army who came out to help feed the fire fighting crews,” said Donnelly, “to the Emergency Social Services Reception Centre for supporting neighbouring residents who were, unfortunately, disrupted by this event.”

Armstrong Division has 436 employees and produces lumber and plywood products for world markets.

Sheri Greeno Tolko Industries Ltd. Communications Advisor