Update 4 pm:
An investigation into the cause of fire at a wood products plant in Lumby has come to an abrupt end for safety reasons.
Valley Wood Remanufacturers on Dure Meadow Road sustained extensive damage after a fire inside its building Tuesday afternoon.
Fire chief Tony Clayton says they have had to shut down their probe.
“A structural engineer has said it’s not safe to go into the building, so there will be no investigation, and when there is, it will be up to the insurance company to figure out how to do it,” Clayton tells Kiss FM.
Clayton says heat from the fire warped some of the steel beams that hold up the building.
“You err on side of caution, so if they say don’t go in, we won’t go in.”
The chief says the fire was likely mechanical in cause and not suspicious, with suggestions it started in a compressor room.
Clayton says it was one of the biggest fires he’s been involved in his 25 years of service, due to the size of the building and the fuel load.
Update 12 pm:
Fire officials are having to wait before starting an investigation into the cause of an industrial fire near Lumby
Valley Wood Remanufacturers sustained extensive damage to products and equipment in a fire Tuesday afternoon.
Lumby fire chief Tony Clayton says due to all the damage, they’re waiting for an expert’s opinion on the stability of the building.
“We’re just waiting for a structural engineer to say it’s sound for people for people to go in. We’ll be doing fire cause determination, and there’s still a lot of hot spots in there that we couldnt get to last night. It was too dangerous in the dark.”
Clayton says the cause looks to be mechanical and not suspicious, with indications it started in a compressor room.
“And because of the damage, there is no guarantees we’ll be able to confirm it.”
The plant is expected to be out of operation for some time — with about 20 employees impacted.
Calls to the company for comment have so far not been returned to Kiss FM News.
Update 7 pm Oct.3 :
No word yet on a cause, but Lumby’s fire chief says damage was “extensive” after a fire just west of Lumby.
Valley Wood Remanufacturing on Dure Meadow Road caught fire Tuesday afternoon, with witnesses saying the wood products plant was fully engulfed, with thick black smoke billowing- out.
Fire chief Tony Clayton says the fire has now been ‘knocked down,” and crews are moving to overhaul and salvage.
“Which is going to take considerable time because of the debris inside.”
Clayton called for assistance from nearby departments right away, adding there was an issue with water at the site.
“The fire hydrants are run by an electrical pump and we had to kill the power, so no pump,” Clayton tells Kiss FM.
Water had to be trucked in from Lumby, with assistance from fire crews from Coldstream, Lavington, Armstrong and BX-Swan Lake.
“I believe I’ve got 45 firefighters here.”
He says some firefighters will stay at the scene overnight.
About 20 people work at the plant, but everyone got out safely.
Clayton says cedar products and equipment inside the building were damaged.
“Until we can get into the building, I won’t know much about the cause or where it started. It may not happen until we can get a structural engineer to have a look,” adds the chief.
Update: 5:30 pm
Lumby fire chief Tony Clayton says they are continuing to work on what he calls “a major fire” at the Valley Wood Products on Dure Meadow Road.
He says there is lots of damage.
“The building is still full of smoke, and we’re still working on extinguishing it, so we haven’t had a look yet.”
Clayton says everyone got out safely, and it’s contained to the building.
“We’re getting the flames beaten down, but there is still a lot of smoke.”
The chief doesn’t where it started.
“The building was full of cedar, and we all know how well cedar burns,” says Clayton.
The Lumby Fire Department is being helped by Coldstream, Lavington, BX-Swan Lake, Armstrong are helping at site, mostly to help haul water from Lumby.
According to its website, ValleyWood Remanufacturing started in 1997 as a “Ma and Pa operation” in Coldstream with 4 employees and 2 machine centers and has now moved to 2 locations on over 20 acres in Lavington and Lumby.
Valley Wood now has 60 employees and is a division of the Tebo Group of Companies.
Originally providing custom millwork services to local mills and lumber wholesale companies, ValleyWood today provides those same custom services as well as producing a line of cedar products that includes Cedar Grilling Planks, backyard furniture, garden products and fencing.
Photo courtesy of Megan Turcato/Global/Twitter
Fire crews are responding to a fire in Lumby.
It’s at the Valley Wood Mill at 18 Dure Meadow Road which is just off Highway 6, and west of the village.
Eyewitness Brent Compton says it’s a big fire, with two buildings fully engulfed.
“Both buildings are on fire. That’s where they store the lumber. It was up to the roof which is tin. It’s just billows of black smoke,” says Compton.
Compton is not concerned it could spread to his home which is just across the street.
“I don’t think so. It’s pretty well cleared around there. The smoke is just going up in the air and heading north.”
Nearby fire departments from Coldstream, Lavington and BX-Swan Lake are providing support at the site.