[env-trinity] Redding Record Searchlight 7/6/10

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Wed Jul 7 09:49:31 PDT 2010


Weaverville mill owner sues water district over fire

Redding Record Searchlight-7/6/10

By Ryan Sabalow 

 

West Coast Industrial Systems workers John Hughes (from left) Jai
Christiansen and Doug Arnold install a lumber bin sorter Tuesday at Trinity
River Lumber Company in Weaverville.

 

The owners of a Weaverville lumber mill have sued the local water district
alleging that when a fire erupted inside the building last fall, workers
tried to put it out, but there wasn't enough water pressure.

 

Sparked by a welder's torch on Sept. 12, the fire at the Trinity River
Lumber Company burned the building to the ground, shutting down Trinity
County's largest employer.

 

In a lawsuit filed June 24 in Shasta County Superior Court, the mill's
owners claim that before the fire, the Weaverville Community Services
District had recently repaired a leaking backflow system in what's known as
"The Vault" under the mill's Main Street parking lot.

 

Wayne Maire, the mill owners' Redding attorney, said to repair the leak, the
district or its contractor turned off a valve to the mill's fire suppression
system. The valve was only about 5 percent open when the fire erupted, Maire
said.

 

"They went to turn on the hose, and instead just a trickle came out," Maire
said.

 

The suit names the district's Redding contractor Northwood Backflow Services
as a co-defendant.

 

A woman who answered the phone Tuesday at the Weaverville Community Services
District said David Van Denover, the district's general manager, was out of
the office. She said no one else would comment, and she refused to provide a
name or a number for the district's attorney.

 

A message left Tuesday on Northwood Backflow Services' answering machine
said the owners were on vacation and wouldn't be checking messages until
later this month.

 

Maire said the mill's owners have had a good relationship with the local
water district in the past.

 

"We like them," Maire said. "It's not a situation where anybody did anything
on purpose. ... It's been devastating to the community, I think as everyone
recognizes."

 

Jim Knight, the mill's personnel manager, said that at the time of the fire
the mill employed around 140 people.

 

The mill's under construction, and the hope is it will reopen by September
or October.

 

Some of the employees have been able to keep working in Weaverville helping
coordinate the construction efforts, and around 40 others have been working
off-site at the former Siller Brothers Sound Stud Mill on Latona Road in
Anderson, which the mill is using temporarily.

 

The other employees have been forced to find work elsewhere or seek
unemployment benefits, he said.

 

Meanwhile, replacing the 1950s-era building will have some perks, he said.

 

"It's a shame; it's a small community here," Knight said. "But we're going
to have a state-of-the-art brand new mill here shortly."

 

 

Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land/fax

415 519 4810 mobile

bwl3 at comcast.net 

bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org 

http://www.fotr.org

 

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