The fire department was called at 7:44 p.m. Wednesday, September 13 to the Galloway Sawmill located between the towns of Elko and Jaffray.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation, but it originated in some machinery attached to the mill, more specifically a conveyor belt.
There is damage to the conveyor system and the fire spread into the chip piles and brush areas surrounding it, though the full extent of the damage has yet to be determined. Jaffray Fire Chief Dave Boreen informed the Townsman that an investigation commenced early this morning, September 14, and that the fire was quickly responded to and contained within a relatively short time.
“It was [contained] fairly quickly — within a few hours we had it contained and everything,” said Boreen. “The big thing we had a unit crew from BC Wildfire Service was on scene and also a helicopter with a bucket helped us put out a lot of the hotspots in the chip piles and that.”
With all the wildfires in the East Kootenay there is certainly no short supply of firefighting personnel and resources in the area. Including members of the Jaffray, Elko and Baynes Lake Fire Departments and local mill workers that were on scene, the presence of the BC Wildfire personnel made for a total of over 60 firefighters battling the fire with seven apparatus.
“They were pretty fast on it, they helped to save the day for sure,” Boreen said.
Crews were kept on overnight actioning a few non-serious hot spots and Boreen said it was left with the mill’s owners and workers this morning.