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Press Release - Trinity River Lumber Fire - 9-14-09

The Weaverville Fire Department was dispatched on Saturday morning at 1039 hrs to a reported structure fire at the Trinity River Lumber Mill. A Weaverville Fire Captain reported heavy smoke showing from his residence a mile away at 1040:14 hrs.  The first Weaverville Engine arrived at 1041:45 hrs.


 The first 911 report was received by Trinity County Sherriff and Fire Dispatched at 1036:54 hrs from a caller across the street.  The caller reported smoke coming from the Mill.


The Weaverville VFD had a total of 4 Engines with 20 personnel respond. In addition fire units responded from Lewiston VFD, Douglas City VFD, Junction City VFD, CalFire and the USFS. This brought a total number of personnel to 73 firefighters.   This incident was also supported by an air attack, two air tankers and a helicopter.


The mill is located at 1375 Main Street in Weaverville. The building involved in fire was the three-story with two sides of the building being two-story.  The three-story section was totally destroyed by the fast moving fire. This section housed the gang edger, supervisorís office, lunch room, bathrooms and millwright shop. The two-story sections had heavy smoke and heat damage but fire fighters were able to keep the fire from destroying the structure.  These two sections housed the Headrig and the twin resaw.   The fire also extended into the green chain and planer area and caused major heat and smoke damage to the structure and equipment in these work areas.


The probable cause of this fire has been determined to be accidental. An employee was using a cutting torch on the gang edger inside the fire building.  All company policies were in place and being observed at the time of the fire.  The employees discovered the fire and attempted to extinguish with fire extinguishers.  The fire continued to build and employee deployed the in-house hose system and found that to be non-operational. The automatic sprinkler system did not function.  Once the fire established itself in the building it rapidly spread through out the buildings.


Trinity River Lumber Company and Water District official are investigating why the sprinkler system did not activate.


For further information you can contact the Weaverville Fire Protection District 623-6156.


Fire spread was halted by mid-day Saturday, but WFD volunteers worked into the night, and then all day Sunday, 'overhauling' (extinguishing every last ember), and then clean-up, getting vehicles and gear ready for the next incident.

The Weaverville Fire Department thanks Trinity River Lumber Company, The Nugget Restaurant, LaGrange Restaurant, Tops Market, and Round Table Pizza for generous emergency logistical assistance.