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Fire hits Worthington Properties offices


March 27, 2009
By Pulp & Paper Canada

The government of British Columbia is concerned a fire in downtown Edmonton earlier this week may jeopardize its ef…

The government of British Columbia is concerned a fire in downtown Edmonton earlier this week may jeopardize its efforts to recover costs related a Mackenzie, B.C. pulp and paper mill.

 

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On Tuesday afternoon, fire crews were called to the 80-year-old Kelly-Ramsey building in Edmonton, which houses the offices of Worthington Properties. According to a report by the CBC, it took firefighters two and a half hours to get the fire under control. Damages to the building, which Worthington Properties also reportedly owns, are estimated at about $3.5 million.  

 

On Thursday, Edmonton police said an arson investigation is underway.

 

In 2008, Worthington Properties purchased the Mackenzie mill from now bankrupt Pope & Talbot. In January, the B.C. government took over the mill after Worthington reportedly failed to pay the workers. The government took over maintaining the facility in order to keep frozen pipes from bursting, which could cause a toxic spill.

 

The B.C. government hopes to recoup costs from Worthington Properties, but has had difficulty tracking down the company’s actual owner after former proprietor Dan White stepped down as director in January.

 

“We’re very concerned about the documents associated particularly with the Mackenzie mill,” B.C. Forest Minister Pat Bell said in the report. “We know a large number of those are still stored in Mackenzie. But certainly, if some of those were lost, there is a potential risk there, so we’re following this along closely and trying to get in touch with Worthington Properties.”

 

According to the CBC report, White was in St. Petersburg, Russia this week and was notified about the fire by staff in an e-mail.


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