Nfld. & Labrador

Cottles Island Lumber expects operations to resume this week

A section of a Newfoundland lumber company's plant was destroyed by fire earlier this month, but a spokesperson for Cottles Island Lumber says production is expected to start up again this week.

'Amazing spirit' among employees helping in clean-up: spokesperson Deborah Bourden

A spokesperson with Cottles Island Lumber says interim operations are set to resume later this week following a fire that destroyed the plant's main warehouse. (CBC)

Cottles Island Lumber, the central Newfoundland lumber company whose premises were partially destroyed by fire earlier this month, says production is expected to start up again this week.

The main warehouse for the Notre Dame Bay plan was destroyed in a fire that was determined not to be arson.

"It was bad. That building was completely destroyed and pretty much everything in it," said company spokesperson Deborah Bourden.

However, she added that while the fire was devastating, an interim operation is nearly ready to allow the lumber company to resume work.

We have some very excited people cheering as the flat beds came in with new interim boiler, new interim forklifts, so it was a very exciting time, actually.- Deborah Bourden

"Our interim plan is ticking along quite nicely and we plan to be back in production hopefully by the end of this week, which is I think quite outstanding," said Bourden.

"I know for us we are minimizing the impact on every front and the fact that we'll be back producing this week — considering the fire is only two weeks tomorrow — is a little bit short of extraordinary."

The rebuild process is expected to take several months, Bourden said, but equipment has been arriving on-site since the fire to allow the workers to get back to their regular jobs, rather than helping in the clean-up.

Interim equipment on site

Bourden said the workers have been enthusiastic in helping to clean up the warehouse after the blaze, and even the insurance adjusters have commented on the "amazing spirit" at the site, which isn't common after this kind of incident.

"We have some very excited people cheering as the flatbeds came in with new interim boiler, new interim forklifts, so it was a very exciting time, actually," she said.

"People are very happy to see that things are moving forward and definitely, as we know it's a family business. The Philpotts are very excited to know that in a very quick time things are going from very devastating to very, very positive again."

The interim operations could resume as early as Wednesday or at least later this week, Bourden said, and the company will continue repairs at the destroyed site.


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