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Fire destroys woodworking facility north of Elmira

A fire that tore through a hardwood manufacturer north of Elmira Tuesday morning left behind $1.25 million in damage and exhausted firefighters from four Woolwich stations.

For hours the firefighters, working in short shifts, battled the inferno that had engulfed the Elbru Distributors woodworking manufacturing operation. The fire spread quickly and before noon had destroyed most of the company’s building.

Black smoke could be seen across the northern part of Woolwich Township heading east towards Guelph.

Fire crews from across Woolwich Township were on scene at a blaze at Elbru Distributors north of Elmira on Tuesday. The fire destroyed a workshop, machinery and lumber stock, causing $1.25 million in damage. [colin dewar / the observer]
The heat was severe and combined with the strong winds and humidity on Tuesday made it tough on 60 firefighters as they struggled to contain a blaze at a lumberyard and hardwood flooring facility.

Fire crews focused their attention on a silo full of sawdust in the afternoon and doused it with water as they contained the fire.

“We were on scene at 10:40 a.m. and by the early afternoon we had the fire under control,” said Woolwich Township fire chief Rick Pedersen in a phone interview Wednesday.

Crews remained at the scene through out the day working on spot fires within wood chips.

“We got the fire knocked down around noon, it was a stubborn one,” said Pedersen. “For the rest of the day we had crews making sure no flare ups occurred and the last truck left the scene at 7:20 p.m.”

Four stations – Elmira, St. Jacobs, Floradale and Conestogo – were called to the scene, with a total of 60 firefighters and 13 fire trucks responding.

“None of the Elbru employees were injured. They all got out quickly and unharmed,” said Pedersen.

Two firefighters suffered heat exhaustion and were treated by paramedics at the scene.

According to Pederson the cause of the fire was accidental, as cleaning fumes were ignited by electrical equipment.

The estimated loss and damages has been determined to be $1.25 million including the lumber stock, machinery and building that were destroyed in the fire.

Arthur Street North remained closed between Florapine Road and Sandy Hills Drive while fire crews fought the blaze.

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