PORT ANGELES — A cedar shake mill south of Forks was destroyed as a blaze ripped through the building Wednesday morning.
A passerby reported the fire at about 8:30 a.m., said Bill Paul, chief of Clallam County Fire District No. 1.
Paul was on scene within three minutes and with the help of 14 firefighters from Fire District No. 1, the Department of Natural Resources, Clallam County Fire District No. 6 and the La Push Fire Department, was able to have the fire contained within about an hour.
Firefighters from several agencies were on scene throughout Wednesday morning extinguishing hot spots, said Bill Paul, chief of Clallam County Fire District No. 1. His fire district remained on scene through the night on fire watch.
He said when he arrived at the fire at 185183 U.S. Highway 101, about 4 miles south of Forks, the cedar mill was fully engulfed in flames.
Flames were shooting about 50 feet in the air as thick smoke, which could be seen from Forks, poured into the air.
“We’ll be here well into the evening and set up a fire watch for the night,” he said.
Explosions could be heard during the fire, likely from air compressors, he said.
He said there is concern of the fire starting back up again because of the amount of cedar shakes on site.
“There’s a lot of cedar waste around the mill,” he said. “There’s a lot of shake.”
He said there were about 150 pallets inside.
“We’ve got a lot of product still burning,” he said Wednesday afternoon.
Paul said the mill was operational, though it wasn’t active at the time of the fire.
County records show the property is owned by WP Services, LLC, of Forks.
The Forks fire department and several others are on scene now at a cedar shake mill south of Forks. The fire chief tells me no one was there at the time and it's a total loss. Video provided by Julie Powers. pic.twitter.com/4zz3CjQExn
— Jesse Major (@jessemajor) September 5, 2018
Paul said there were multiple concerns when firefighters arrived, including a 500-gallon propane tank and power lines.
The propane tank was adjacent to the south exterior wall of the building. Utility workers disconnected the power and firefighters were able to begin their attack.
He said that because of the location of the mill the firefighters’ water supply was an issue.
There were 14 firefighters, two pumpers, two water tenders and two brush trucks on scene. Forks Ambulance also responded.
Paul said it was still too early to determine the cause of the fire. He said there is no reason to think the fire was suspicious.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].