Fire tears through local business

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Owner says company still open for business

A Sturgeon County businessman said his company is open for business, even after a fire tore through his property, destroying three buildings.

The fire broke out on April 20 at Larry Jackson’s business at the corner of Highway 37 and Highway 44. Jackson runs two businesses on the site — Jackson Rentals, which rents crane mats and Jackson Lumber, which produces custom-built timber homes.

“We are still open for business and we have retooled up to try and keep going,” said Jackson. “We are all still going along and we still have some orders.”

The fire tore through two shop buildings and a show home that had been built on the property. The smoke could initially be seen from several kilometres away. Fire crews from across Sturgeon County responded to the site.

Jackson said the shop buildings were older, but losing the show home was tremendously disappointing.

“That was my show home. I had just hung the last door in it last week, so it was finished.”

Sturgeon County deputy fire chief Pat Mahoney said it appears the welding shop was the source of the blaze.

“It was an accident. There was an employee that was there and was welding and a spark caught.”

Jackson said the most important thing is that everyone got out safely.

He said the companies had three fully finished homes ready for transport to their assembly sites and will spend the summer putting them up for customers. He said because the work will still be able to go on, he also won’t have to lay any employees off.

He said he should be able to build a new shop at the same time this summer.

Mahoney said the dry conditions and very high winds only pushed the blaze through the three buildings. He said the firefighters couldn’t get into the buildings to put the fires out, because they were too unstable.

“We didn’t want to send anyone in because we were worried about the structural integrity.”

The shop buildings were metal structures and the timber show home had a metal roof. Mahoney said that prevented firefighters from being able to attack the fire until they could bring in heavy equipment.

“The buildings were all metal clad and they collapsed and the fire basically was contained under the metal.”

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