A large structure fire burns through a portion of the Quicksilver LNG property

Fire engulfs former Catalyst mill site

A large fire broke out at the former Elk Falls mill early Wednesday

A large fire broke out at the defunct Elk Falls mill early Wednesday.

Campbell River fire crews battled the major structure fire through the early morning hours at the former Catalyst site.

Deputy fire chief Thomas Doherty said the fire broke out near the top of what is now the Quicksilver LNG property, near the former sawmill portion of the site.

“It was in an old sledge building which was all in for demolition,” Doherty said. “Contractors have been working on site there.”

Doherty said it was a security guard who called in the fire.

“At (12:46 a.m.) crews were dispatched to a report of a large outdoor fire at the site, and were quickly updated that the fire was actually a large, three-storey structure,” said Doherty.

“On arrival, crews confirmed the structure was fully involved with flames reaching 30 feet in the air. This particular building was in the process of demolition, which created some additional risks that the structure could collapse.”

A total of 26 firefighters from both the downtown and Willow Point Campbell River fire stations responded to the incident and initiated a defensive attack on the fire to contain it from spreading to other buildings.

The fire was so involved that it took roughly four hours to bring the blaze under control and crews remained on site throughout the night and into the morning to ensure there were no hot spots or additional flare ups.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Wednesday’s fire is not the first to break out since the mill shut down.

In May of 2012, a spark from a welding or cutting torch ignited the second floor of the five-storey thermomechanical pulping building.