A fire ripped through a Montesano lumber mill Saturday night, destroying a saw mill and leaving a small community in shock.
Montesano firefighters were called to Marys River Lumber Company off state Route 107 just before 9 p.m., according to Fire Chief Corey Rux. Flames were coming from the saw mill. A security guard was the only person on the property at the time of the fire, and was able to escape without injury.
Five fire districts with 35 firefighters battled the blaze that went on through the night until 5 a.m. Sunday.
Being a saw mill made it very difficult to extinguish the fire, Rux said. Also coupled with the fuel we were dealing with there was 80,000 board feet of cedar, flammable liquids such as diesel tanks and settling tanks and we had hydraulic oil.
These things played a part to making it a very difficult fire to control.
No firefighters were injured. The cause and origin of the fire are under investigation.
Montesano Mayor Ken Estes said the community of about 4,000 has shown overwhelming support. A grocery store opened its doors after hours, providing water and ice to the crews battling the blaze.
Gepettos Restaurant and Sports Bar donated 30 large pizzas and cases of water.
It was unsolicited - nobody asked them to, Estes said. Its jus that kind of the thing I love this community; its the most caring community Ive ever lived in.
Marys River Lumber was established in 1974, specializing in western red cedar, according to the companys website. The company is headquartered in Corvallis, Ore., and has plants in Philomath, Ore., Montesano and Elma.
The mill provides about 105 full time jobs to the Montesano community, as well as 20 part time jobs, Estes said. Estes spoke with the manager of the company, who said they fully intend to rebuild after the fire investigation is over and insurance is handled.
This is a major impact for us, Estes said. From a city viewpoint, we will do everything legally we can to make sure they can get it rebuilt if they can.