Tembec fire in the mop up stage

Photo:  Wednesday night crews started to fight several large fires at the Tembec Pulp Mill near Chetwynd – Adam Reaburn/Energeticcity.ca

Fire crews from Fort St. John and Dawson Creek have slowly made progress on the fire at the Chetwynd Tembec facility.

Crews are working to mop up the fire and make sure it doesn’t flare up again. Firefighters have been on scene since late Wednesday June 30th and will still be there for several more days, just incase the fire starts again.

The fire started inside the mill and quickly spread through the facility and into chip and log piles outside. The fire in the mill was quickly extinguished, but crews struggled to douse the fires in the log and chip piles.

Fire crews from Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, which are under contract to provide services to the mill, were called in at 5:20pm Wednesday and have been on scene ever since.

The number of fire fighters at the mill has been reduced and the Fire Commissioner will start investigating the fire on Monday. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Tembec has still not returned any of our calls about the fire.

The City of Fort St. John and Dawson Creek are both under contract to provide emergency services to the Tembec Pulp Mill, which means Tembec will be paying for the cost of fighting the fire.

The contract between Fort St. John and Tembec started in 2004. Dawson Creek joined the contract in 2008. Earlier this year Fort St. John Council agreed with staff that they would renew the contract for another two years, but wanted to meet with Tembec to discuss alternative options.

The City is concerned that it will only be a matter of time before the Fire Department would be in a conflict situation where the contracted service would put residents and property at risk in Fort St. John.

The City is currently working with Tembec to help the company find another service to help fight any fires.  

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