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Back in business after fire

After a week in the dark, Coldstream Lumber's lights are back on and its employees are back at work.

Last weeks devastating fire forced 40 employees off the job and left the company scrambling to get everything back in order.

Company president, Johnal Lee, says as of yesterday they were doing terribly as they struggled with Hydro to come and turn the lights back on. Finally, he says, Hydro arrived late last night and turned on the power.

“We were super excited after being down for a whole week, 40 guys without work, but they are back at work as of this morning,” says Lee.

At this point the company does not have a final number on what the fire has cost them, but they know it is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“We lost both of our kilns which is a big blow because drying is a big part of what we do out there,” sighs Lee.

“That being said, we are hoping over the next three months or so to put new kilns in. And, we are hoping to get by on the wood we already dried out in the yard and in partnership with some of our neighbours until then.”

Fire investigators initial assessment blamed the massive fire, that destroyed two buildings containing the kilns, on a problem electrical box.

Lee says it is hard for him and his team to understand how this box could have caused all the damage.

“The fuse box was one that was replaced a year ago. The BC Safety Authority was through July 26, 2014 and they gave it a clean report so we don't understand why it would fail, we don't get that. They say it was arcing from that box,” says Lee.

They are still waiting on the final verdict from investigators who are completing their full report and analysis of the fire.

Lee says they are grateful to the people of Greater Vernon for the outpouring of support and all the individuals who reached out to them. He says they are super proud to be a part of this community.

“We are back to work, most everything is cleaned up and we have our hats on for recovery with the hope to be back on track here in a couple months,” adds Lee.  

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