Imperial Cedar Products mill in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, struck by fire in early hours of Wednesday; no injuries reported

LOS ANGELES , September 27, 2013 () – Imperial Cedar Products Ltd. in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, was struck by a fire in the very early hours of Wednesday, losing one of its two buildings, The Province reported on Sept. 26.

The mill was closed, having no night shift, and no injuries were reported. Workers, however, are devastated by the loss of the mill and talking about finding other jobs, according to the newspaper.

Stan Hientz, Imperial Cedar Products' foreman for about 10 years, expressed dismay at the burnt remains of the mill, which produces roofing and siding materials.

Hientz said several propane and paint tanks had exploded during the fire but that the mill was kept very clean, in line with British Columbia’s strong focus on wood-dust after two fatal lumber mill explosions last year.

Some 380 sawmills and wood processing operations were inspected after the lumber mill explosions in Burns Lake and Prince George in 2012 that killed four workers and injured more than 40 people, and WorkSafe B.C. and the B.C. Safety Authority (BCSA) issued directives to improve mill safety, The Province reported.

Since 2012’s fatal fires, there have been two mill fires in Abbotsford and one in Surrey, and according to Maple Ridge assistant fire chief Mark Smitton two other mills in Maple Ridge have burned down in the past two years.

Hientz said those other two mills used to employ the Imperial Cedar workers.

He noted that there was nothing that could be done until the inspectors are finished, adding: “ I guess we’re just all going to have to find other jobs.”

The primary source of this article is The Province, Vancouver, British Columbia, Sept. 26, 2013.

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