Mill fire did not impact production – Port Hawkesbury Paper

POINT TUPPER: The company in charge of the paper mill says a fire here last week had no impact on production.

Port Hawkesbury Paper (PHP) issued a press release explaining that a fire in one of the wood chip silos on the mill site was discovered at approximately 7:20 p.m. on June 20.

PHP said the mill’s Emergency Response Team and the Louisdale and District Volunteer Fire Department responded to the initial call, then calls were made to the Port Hawkesbury, Port Hastings, West Bay Road, and Antigonish volunteer fire departments for assistance.

“The nature of the fire required additional resources, and firefighters from four local fire departments were brought in to assist,” the press release said.

Two Port Hawkesbury Paper employees and two volunteer firefighters were taken to hospital for treatment, the company confirmed, noting that all have since been released.

PHP said it is cooperating with the Department of Labour and Advanced Education in their incident investigation, and in the meantime, the company is investigating the cause of the fire.

Although the fire kept smoldering, PHP said the fire was under control, and their response team was making progress toward extinguishing it completely on June 21.

“… The fire itself has been essentially extinguished but we are in the process of fully emptying the affected silo to ensure there are no remaining issues,” the press release stated.

Port Hawkesbury Paper is extremely grateful for all those who responded to this incident. As a result of their professional actions, the mill’s production has not and will not be impacted.”

In response to questions from Cape Breton-Richmond MLA Alana Paon on Facebook last week as to why the Emergency Health Services (EHS) Lifeflight helicopter was not dispatched to take the injured to hospital in Halifax, EHS communications specialist Remo Zaccagna told The Reporter that both the helicopter and fixed wing crafts were considered but it was decided that sending ground ambulances, which were already in the area, would be the best course of action.

The major factor in this decision was the weather in the Halifax area, he said.

“In this particular case, deteriorating weather in the Halifax area precluded us from sending either a helicopter or fixed wing to Port Hawkesbury,” Zaccagna said. “There was not a high degree of certainty, based on the actual and forecasted weather, that the conditions in Halifax would allow for either aircraft a safe return landing on a Halifax helipad or the Halifax Stanfield Airport.”