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Mechanical fan sparks International Paper fire

An issue with a mechanical fan caused a fire at International Paper’s pulp mill Tuesday evening. The County of Grande Prairie Regional Fire Service was called to the scene around 7 p.m., with firefighters from the Clairmont and Dunes responding, along with help from Bezanson, Sexsmith and Wembley.

Deputy chief Bart Johnson says the blaze was difficult to access, as it was on the roof of a building roughly 80 feet tall. It was turned over to management and the fire chief at International Paper around 9:30 p.m.

Some employees reported being evacuated from the area, but Johnson confirms there were no hazardous materials involved or any leaks resulting from the fire. He adds it’s probable that the motor of an exhaust fan seized up, sparking the flames, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

Correction: a previous version of this article indicated that the fire was on the Weyerhaeuser sawmill side of operations.

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