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Former Miramichi lumber mill destroyed by fire
MIRAMICHI -- A former lumber mill in Miramichi has been destroyed by fire.
Miramichi Fire Chief Tony Lloyd says crews were called to the former Miramichi Lumber Products facility on Jane Street shortly after 9 p.m. Monday.
All three Miramichi fire departments responded to the scene, along with fire crews from nearby Sunny Corner, N.B.
Lloyd says the building, which was engulfed when firefighters arrived on scene, was destroyed within a few hours. It took crews four hours to contain the blaze.
“We had concerns but, fortunately for us, the wind was going in the right direction, which is the wind today, so it kept it away from buildings,” says Lloyd. “Heat was a factor but we watered down some of the buildings that were close just to make sure.”
Lloyd says his crews responded to a call around 6:20 p.m. for a fire in a 45-gallon drum in the same area. Hours later, they had a separate call about the mill just after 9 p.m.
"I probably had about 35-40 firefighters on scene last night," Lloyd said.
Crews remained on scene Tuesday into the evening.
Hal Raper is the chief financial officer for Miramichi Lumber Products. He says the mill, which hasn't been in operation since 2014, was owned by roughly 30 local community shareholders and was not insured.
"I was very disappointed, but I've been disappointed for a long time because we haven't been able to operate the mill because we haven't been able to resolve the contract dispute on the saw logs," Raper said.
Lloyd says crews were keeping a close eye on the flames and even considered evacuating nearby homes.
Dan Bedell of the Canadian Red Cross says power and water were cut to part of the community due to the fire. Volunteers with the organization were on standby in case assistance was needed, but there were no evacuations.
Though fire investigators say it's too early in their investigation to say what caused the fire, Raper says he has his suspicions
"We had locks on the doors, we had no trespassing signs on all the buildings, but people continued to trespass and continued to come in," Raper said.
Crews say no one was in the building at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.