Firefighters respond to a fire at the Paper Excellence mill on Stamp Avenue on Jan. 4. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Firefighters respond to a fire at the Paper Excellence mill on Stamp Avenue on Jan. 4. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Paper machine catches fire at Vancouver Island mill

No one was hurt in fire, says company’s general manager

No one was hurt after a fire erupted Monday morning, Jan. 4, 2021, in one of the paper machines at Paper Excellence Canada in Port Alberni.

“We had a paper fire on the No. 4 paper machine in the dryer section,” Paper Excellence Canada Alberni division general manager Marc Bodin confirmed. Fire crews from Port Alberni Fire Department, Sproat Lake and Cherry Creek volunteer fire departments as well as BC Ambulance were on scene shortly before 10:30 a.m. and the fire was quickly knocked down.

Firefighters stayed on site until well into the afternoon watching for flare-ups and hot spots. Bodin said no one was hurt in the incident.

READ: Fire halts work at Catalyst Paper in Port Alberni

“There was a lot of smoke. What happens when you have a fire on a paper machine is there’s very large fans that remove (moisture) in the dryer,” Bodin explained. When a fire happens the fans are immediately shut off to limit oxygen getting to the flames. That creates a lot more smoke and cuts down the flames, he added.

“There was excellent response from both our own crews here at the mill and the local fire departments.”

The fans aren’t turned back on until the fire department gives the all-clear, which didn’t happen until after noon in this particular case.

Bodin said preliminary checks indicate damage was not extensive. “It looks like there was minimal damage to the machine itself.”

The No. 5 machine remains in production.

READ: Paper Excellence invests $13M in upgrades for Port Alberni paper mill

The same No. 4 paper machine also suffered a fire in the dryer in March 2019 just before Paper Excellence Canada took over ownership of Catalyst Paper.

Bodin said he doesn’t anticipate Monday’s fire affecting the Alberni plant’s overall production. “We’re not expecting any significant down time or loss of production as a result,” he said.

Paper Excellence announced in December that it will invest $13 million upgrading the mill’s two paper machines to increase food grade paper production. Upgrades are due to start later in January and wrap up in late 2021.



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

firePORT ALBERNI

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
School bus driver laments motorists who pass while red lights are flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Metchosin Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila is stepping down as deputy mayor following controversy over her decision to travel to Mexico in December. (Black Press Media file photo)
Councillor steps down as deputy mayor of Metchosin after controversial trip to Mexico

Mayor hopeful mediation will help council get back to the business of community

Victoria police are seeking home surveillance video and witnesses following a prowling incident in Esquimalt Jan. 20. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt prowler removes air conditioner, peers into person’s home

VicPD is seeking video footage, witnesses following Jan. 20 incident

West Shore RCMP seized a stolen fish finder and drugs after searching a Colwood home Jan. 9. (Black Press Media file photo)
Search of Colwood home reveals stolen fish finder, drug trafficking evidence

West Shore RCMP suspect a 46-year-old woman is responsible

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

(Black Press Media file photo)
From arts to environment, nominate your West Shore hero

Nominations for the Goldstream Gazette’s Local Hero awards are open

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

Most Read