City compensated for assisting with Tembec fire

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Fort St. John fire services are still on hand helping to clean up after a fire at the Tembec pulp mill in Chetwynd.

In a release, Tembec says it will reopen the mill in three weeks after approximately 40,000 cubic metres of logs, fibre and wood chips were destroyed. The fire broke out June 30 and was mostly contained to the log storage and chip pile area.

The city has a contract with the company which was renewed in January and is to last two years.

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Dianne Hunter, city manager, says the contract was for the city of Fort St. John to provide Tembec with fire protection services until a point that other arrangements could be made.

However, she says that the city would probably finish the two-year contract period with Tembec even if arrangements are made.

She says that both Fort St. John and Dawson Creek provide fire protection services to Tembec.

However, Hunter says that because of the distance of Tembec mill, the city wants to ensure proper services are available to residents first and foremost and secondly to provide a specific level of service to the mill.

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She says the city only sends out a portion of their services and never leaves the city or surrounding area without proper fire protection. She added that if multiple or large fires occurred in the city then the fire services would be called back to take care of those first.

Since the original contract was signed in 2004, she says the city has grown considerably and would have to look into whether it is prepared to offer fire protection services to an area of the distance of the Tembec mill.

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The contract outlines the compensation the city would get if they send any firefighting reserves to assist the company.

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She adds that the company also pays the city $15,000 to help with cover training costs at the mill which are done approximately six times a year.

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