Quantcast

Libby fire shocks community, hits local economy - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Libby fire shocks community, hits local economy

Posted: Updated:

LIBBY - A town in shock today as one of it's largest businesses burned to the ground Sunday.  One of the few remaining lumber mills in the state is no more, and investigators don't know why.

It was Sunday afternoon and flames could be seen shooting from the SK Fingerjoint Mill in Libby.

"Heavy fire coming through the roof upon arrival of the scene. Life safety was the first priority. I think you had eight to 10 personnel there with an engine and a water tender," Libby Assistant Fire Chief Steve Lauer said.

"We also had a couple of thousand gallon propane tanks that were a potential fire hazard for them. Those propane tanks are within just 10 to 15 feet of the fire itself. So we set up what we call a water curtain to protect that exposure," Lauer added.

The hazardous environment had firefighters in defense mode as they battled the blaze for hours -- and they were dealing with a lack of water on site.

A firefighter was treated on scene by Libby Ambulance Services and is doing okay but the only thing left of the SK Fingerjoint Mill is the office building. The fire destroyed two buildings and has displaced 18 employees.

Bill Cunnane watched the Mill burn down, "I live a couple blocks away.It was going really hot and heavy there you could feel the heat from here in the parking lot."

The 18 employees -- including the owner of the business Dan Kneeler -- have been displaced, but Libby Mayor Brent Teske says the community is standing behind them.

"It was a good viable economic industry and our last foothold into the timber industry," Mayor Teske said.

Employees of the mill will be meeting with a local job service agency to go over possible options which could include retraining.

There's still no word on what sparked the blaze.

WEATHER
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Info sought on missing person in Flathead County

    Info sought on missing person in Flathead County

    Friday, July 20 2018 10:23 AM EDT2018-07-20 14:23:34 GMT
    Alex Ruth Beltran (courtesy photo)Alex Ruth Beltran (courtesy photo)

    Authorities are looking for information on a female who has been reported missing. 

    Authorities are looking for information on a female who has been reported missing. 

  • Missing Stevensville woman found safe

    Missing Stevensville woman found safe

    Friday, July 20 2018 10:49 AM EDT2018-07-20 14:49:15 GMT
    Kay Hill Yaskus, 75, who went missing from her home in Stevensville was found on Thursday evening. (Ravalli County Sheriff's Office photo)Kay Hill Yaskus, 75, who went missing from her home in Stevensville was found on Thursday evening. (Ravalli County Sheriff's Office photo)

    75-year-old Kay Hill Yaskus -- who suffers from dementia -- was found by authorities on Thursday evening.

    75-year-old Kay Hill Yaskus -- who suffers from dementia -- was found by authorities on Thursday evening.

  • Reynolds Lake fire grows to 1000+ acres

    Reynolds Lake fire grows to 1000+ acres

    Thursday, July 19 2018 2:30 PM EDT2018-07-19 18:30:31 GMT
    The Reynolds Lake Fire (inciweb.org photo)The Reynolds Lake Fire (inciweb.org photo)

    The latest numbers show that the Reynolds Lake fire has now burned 1,068 acres. 

    The latest numbers show that the Reynolds Lake fire has now burned 1,068 acres. 

Powered by Frankly

© KPAX.com 2018, KPAX.com
A CORDILLERA COMMUNICATIONS Station
All rights reserved
Privacy Policy, | Terms of Service, and Ad Choices

Can't find something?