Mill Owners Issue Statement On Fire In Pembroke

The company that owns the lumber mill that was destroyed by fire in Pembroke last night says they are grateful that nobody was injured in the blaze, and thankful for the emergency responders who worked through the night to battle the flames.

The planing mill facility on Boundary Road is owned by Lavern Heideman & Sons Limited, which is based near Eganville and has been operating in the Valley for more than 40 years.

They acquired the mill from International Lumber in 2014.

“We are very grateful to the fire departments, police, paramedics, and all first responders”, said Heideman President Eddie Heideman in a statement issued early Thursday afternoon.

The Pembroke operation, which the company says employs 26 people, will be down for an “extended period”, as Heideman & Sons considers its next steps.

“We are looking at all options to ensure our employees continue to work, and that our customers’ needs are met”, added Vice President Kris Heideman.

The company describes the damage as “extensive”.  

Pembroke’s Fire Department is working with the Ontario Fire Marshal on the investigation, but officials have said the damage is so bad that they may not be able to track down a cause.

They have determined the origin of the fire to be somewhere in the vicinity of a hopper at the back of the site.

Last night’s fire lit up the sky above Pembroke for several hours, as flames shot high into the air.

It also brought down a main hydro line feeding Pembroke, knocking off power to thousands of people in Laurentian Valley for two hours, and to more than 13,000 people in Pembroke for 10 hours.

Heideman & Sons employs more than 100 people across its operations and operates two sawmills and a planing mill, along with holding substantial Crown timber allocations and management work for “over 100 private properties” as part of their private land management program.

The mills produce both hardwood and softwood lumber.

(Please click back to the “News” section for more stories related to the fire and power outage)