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Port Hawkesbury Paper fire under control

An image from Thursday's fire at Port Hawkesbury Paper.
An image from Thursday's fire at Port Hawkesbury Paper. - Alana Paon / Facebook

Two firefighters suffer non-serious injuries

POINT TUPPER, N.S. —

An industrial fire that broke out Thursday evening at Port Hawkesbury Paper is still burning this morning but has been brought under control.

 

The fire was reported some time after 7 p.m. last night at the mill in Point Tupper. Firefighters from Port Hawkesbury, Louisdale, West Bay Road and Antigonish joined an emergency response team from the mill in battling the blaze.

 

“When we got there we were informed there was a chip silo fire and then we started to make a plan to attack the fire,” said Curtis Doucet, the chief of the Port Hawkesbury Volunteer Fire Department.

 

“My crew was there until about 11:30 p.m. and then we went back to the hall.

 

The fire itself is ongoing but it is a little more under control. It is just the mill employees dealing with it now.”

 

Two firefighters were injured during the incident. Both were initially transported to the Strait Regional Hospital and then to Halifax. One was released from hospital this morning and the second is expected to be released this afternoon.

 

Their injuries are not thought to be serious.

 

The chip silo where the fire occurred is an estimated 80-85 foot high structure and was thought to be 85 per cent full of wood chips at the time of the fire.

 

“It was a co-ordinated effort between the fire departments and the mill emergency response team,” said Doucet about the efforts to extinguish the fire.

 

“They opened up the bottom doors and got access to the chips from the ground and just kept spraying water.”

 

The last firefighting crew was sent home early this morning, according to Doucet, the Port Hawkesbury Paper crews remain on scene to deal with the ongoing fire situation.

 

An RCMP spokesperson said the incident has been referred to the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education.


Despite the fire the mill was still producing its supercalendered paper — a high-gloss paper used in magazines and flyers – on Friday morning.


The forestry industry in Northern Nova Scotia relies on a constant flow of logs and pulp wood, with sawmills and Port Hawkesbury Paper processing logs into lumber and  paper products.


If a large piece of the puzzle were to go down, then forestry contractors and sawmill operators are affected too.


With the mill continuing to operate and accept wood fibre deliveries on Friday morning the entire system was able to keep operating.

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