Fire destroyed a workshop at South Enderby Boards off Highway 97A near the Starlight Drive-In Monday. (Enderby Fire Department photo)

Fire destroys Enderby mill workshop

Fire breaks out after 5 p.m. Monday, engulfing workshop

Enderby Fire Department battled frigid conditions in putting out a mill fire Monday.

A blaze broke out in a workshop at South Enderby Boards, off Highway 97A near the Starlight Drive-In, at about 5:15 p.m., 45 minutes after the last employee had left for the day.

“The fire was in a workshop where finishing is done, so there was lots of moulding, lots of fuel in there,” said Enderby Fire Chief Cliff Vetter Tuesday morning. “It’s a complete wood structure. The damage is extensive. It’s hard to tell where it started.”

The company website says it “specializes in custom-cut fir, cedar, spruce and pine.”

“It was our workshop where we had a lot of specialized tooling and woodworking stuff,” said South Enderby Boards spokesperson Craig McIntyre. “We were making some big tables and higher end stuff in there, but it wasn’t any of my sawmill, anything to do with that. But it’s still a bit of a blow, that’s for sure.

“Like any time with a fire, it’s all the things you remember three days later, like ‘Oh, let’s go get that tool to fix this, oh, that was in the shop.’ Paperwork, notes, contacts, all sorts of stuff is gone.”

Conditions for the fire department were tough as the firefighters dealt with the Arctic chill that’s gripped the province.

“There was the freezing of air packs, face pieces, it was icy after spraying water so the scene became very slippery throughout the night,” said Vetter. “We had a truck where guys could go thaw out, get warm and get back at it.”

RELATED: Enderby family escapes fire

The fuel in the workshop made for a long, cold night for firefighters.

“With that fuel load in there, it was very hard to get the fire out,” said Vetter. “The mop-up took forever with layers upon layers of wood. There is no drywall, it’s all wood with some fibreglass insulation. There were fires in every little nook and cranny.”

The cause of the fire is undetermined.

McIntyre said the fire came during the company’s slow season.

“Nobody got hurt, everything’s fine, it’s just a matter of how do we persevere and move on,” said McIntyre on Tuesday. “We’re just trying to figure that out this morning. We’ll be moving onwards and upwards.

“The things that make me money are still here and we’re ready to go back to work. We have to do some electrical modifications on things and figure out how to build a new workshop and office.”

McIntyre hopes to have the business reopened toward the end of the week. He had high praise for the work of the fire department.

“They were here really fast, they battled that sucker for a long time,” said McIntyre. “Like they said, it’s one of the best-built buildings that has been around for a long time, and they just couldn’t get it out. I believe they were here for over eight hours pouring water on that thing, and it’s still standing.”

As they’re in their slow season, McIntyre said only four people were working as of Monday, but for one, in particular, the fire is a major setback.

“I have another fellow that works here with us in kind of a joint business and he makes a lot of specialized things, it hurt him quite badly,” said McIntyre. “He had a lot of specialized tools in there and he had a lot of projects on the go.”

The shop was not insured. McIntyre said fires that destroyed sawmills up north a few years ago hurt small operations’ abilities to get insurance. He said he had been in the process of getting insurance for content and rolling stock, with a meeting set up for later in the week.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Vernon author shorlisted in B.C. historical writing competition

The BC Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded together with $2,500 to the author whose book makes the most significant contribution to the historical literature of British Columbia.

Lumby fire destroys five vehicles

Auto wrecker blaze believed to be accidental

New restaurant on The Rise in Vernon

Multi-million dollar project plans for a 30,000 square foot multi-amenity building with the restaurant and bar

A campaign encourages families to put down their phones and talk this Mother’s Day

OpenTable’s #DiningMode gets Okanagan restaurants on board with a no phone policy while dining

Vernon council will hold town-hall on downtown issues

Notice of motion on meeting put forward by councillor wins near unanimous approval

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

Okanagan experience for the Blue Man Group

The world tour of the Blue Man Group came to Penticton this week for two shows.

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Olympian Andi Naude retires from freestyle skiing

Penticton native skied in 62 World Cup single and dual moguls events in her career

Most Read