Monday, October 5th7.8°C

Update: Fire inside Tolko mill

A fire broke out in the power plant at the Tolko saw mill Saturday morning.

The Kelowna Fire Department responded to the call at 10:56 a.m.

Workers on site noticed the fire and took steps to limit damage until fire crews could arrive.

"I heard on the radio and I ran over and grabbed a hose and ran in," says John Walker, one of the first employees to respond.

Inside the power plant there was plenty of smoke.

"It was up on the first level, it started maybe from the ash, we don't know. Then it moved up into the second floor and up into the third."

Upon arrival, fire crews noticed black smoke and steam exiting the West Centre area of the four storey power generating station.

Platoon Captain Henry Roelefs says all Tolko personnel were accounted for and the power had been locked off prior to firefighters entering the structure.

Crews encountered heavy smoke and limited visibility when they entered and due to the age and nature of the structure, all of the hot spots were not easily accessed.

It took around 90 minutes before the fire could be declared extinguished.

Tolko staff say the plant will be operating with certain areas down for a couple of days.

The sounds of the sirens also attracted neighbours in the area who were concerned to see emergency vehicles at the mill.

"I was sitting at home in Discovery Bay and heard all these fire trucks and ambulances and figured it was a good time to take the dog for a walk," says Jay Firman.

"I came down and saw there was a whole bunch of smoke and heard the power station caught fire."

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, and the investigation continues.

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