Fire at Port Alberni mill under construction another setback for vulnerable forestry industry

The fire at the San Group's remanufacturing plant means its opening, scheduled for a few weeks from now, will be delayed. (Port Alberni Fire Department)

CBC News

A fire has destroyed part of a new mill that was under construction in Port Alberni, B.C., in another blow to Vancouver Island’s forestry industry.

Firefighters from the Port Alberni Fire Department, as well as volunteers members from the Cherry Creek, Sproat Lake and Beaver Creek fire departments arrived on scene at 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Fire Chief Mike Owens said it was a large fire, but crews were able to quickly get it under control. 

The Office of the Fire Commissioner is investigating its cause.

The San Group’s remanufacturing plant, located on Stamp Avenue, was weeks away from going into operation, but fire damage to the mill means that start will be delayed.

Kamal Sanghera, the CEO of San Group, said 75 per cent of the plant is operational and his team is working to find replacement machinery for the damaged equipment.