Five workers were treated for smoke inhalation and one North Cowichan firefighter was treated for heat stress following a fire at the Paper Excellence Catalyst Crofton mill Wednesday night.
Four North Cowichan stations were called to the two-alarm blaze at the mill, noted Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan’s manager of fire and bylaw services.
“A quick response from protection officers at the mill and the Crofton firefighters and the help of 20 additional firefighters from four halls brought the blaze under control very quickly,” he added.
The fire was within the mechanical pulp mill operation, pointed out Graham Kissack, vice president of Environment, Health and Safety and corporate communications for Paper Excellence.
Kissack said the fire was almost out by around 10:30 p.m., but the job for firefighters extended well beyond that time.
“Firefighters were on scene for most of the night and North Cowichan’s fire investigator was called to the scene at approximately 11 p.m. to work with mill officials to look for a cause to the blaze,” Drakeley stated.
North Cowichan hired an assistant chief of inspections/investigations in April and he will be working with Paper Excellent Catalyst officials and WorkSafeBC on the ongoing investigation.
Kissack noted the mill is completing cleanup of the scene.
“There are some wiring repairs and equipment checks – due to water exposure from the firefighting – needed before the paper mill restarts in the next few days.”