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Burned shake & shingle plant to be rebuilt
The company that owns a cedar remanufacturing plant destroyed by fire early Wednesday in Maple Ridge wants to rebuild to gets its employees back to work.
Imperial Cedar Products Ltd. has already begun sifting through the charred remains of the building on River Road near 236th Street, looking for any equipment that can be saved. Eight people work at the plant.
“We are in the process of evaluating what equipment is salvageable and have every intention of being up and running,” office administrator Steffie Amlee said Thursday, a day after a fire roared through a plant used to make cedar shake and shingles.
Imperial Cedar’s sawmill, located on a lot at the back of the property closer to the Fraser River, was not damaged.
The blaze at the remanufacturing plant started around 1 a.m. Wednesday.
When firefighters arrived on scene, they were greeted by multiple explosions and found a building completely engulfed in flames.
Paul Christensen works for Supreme Structural Transport, a business adjacent to the mill, and lives in a house on site. His girlfriend woke him up after a series of loud booms.
Christensen believes the fire started just as the sawmill’s night shift ended.
No one was injured as nobody was working inside the remanufacturing plant.
“My girlfriend saw a couple of people running away,” he said.
When Christensen looked outside, he saw a wall of fire.
“The flames were a good 30 feet tall,” he said.
“There was not much we could do.”
When a Hydro pole ignited and started sparking, firefighters told Christensen and his girlfriend to leave their home.
They were allowed to returned around 2:30 a.m., after the fire was under control.
The Maple Ridge Fire Department remained on scene Wednesday, putting out hot spots.
Assistant fire chief Mark Smitton confirmed the fire was called in by workers who were coming off the night shift.
Eight fire trucks and 30 firefighters were on scene at the height of the fire.
Investigators have photographed the site and a preliminary investigation is complete, but the cause of the fire is still unknown. Crews began scouring the burnt remnants of the plant to figure out what started the blaze.
Smitton said digging through the fire scene should help them determine a possible cause.