Chester Grant lumber mill badly damaged in fire

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A Mahone Bay fire truck is seen in this file photo from 2020. Mahone Bay was one of a dozen fire departments that responded to the lumber mill fire in Chester Grant, N.S., on Monday. (David Laughin/CBC - image credit)
A Mahone Bay fire truck is seen in this file photo from 2020. Mahone Bay was one of a dozen fire departments that responded to the lumber mill fire in Chester Grant, N.S., on Monday. (David Laughin/CBC - image credit)

Dozens of firefighters battled a large blaze with the help of rain Monday at Millett Lumber in Chester Grant, N.S.

Chief Doug Rines of the Chester Basin Volunteer Fire Department said they were called to the fire just before 1 p.m. AT.

The main building was "totally engulfed in flames" when crews arrived, Rines said, so they took a defensive stance and made sure the fire didn't spread to the surrounding buildings.

They were joined by another 11 departments from the surrounding areas, and in total about 70 firefighters fought the blaze until around 7 p.m. Monday.

Although the rain helped keep the sawdust wet, ensuring the fire didn't spread, the main mill building suffered the most damage.

"It's a writeoff, a big loss," Rines said.

Rines said they were able to react quickly since they had pre-planned how to attack a fire if one ever broke out at the mill.

Rines said they were able to save some of the machinery, so some work could still continue, but the mill itself was burned.

The lumber mill also dealt with a fire about 15 years ago, and was able to rebuild, Rines said.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Millett Lumber was established in 1965 by Wayne Millett and is still run by the family's next generation, according to the company's website.

In 2017, the current owners deconstructed and rebuilt with parts taken from old mills in the Atlantic provinces.

This is Nova Scotia's second major lumber fire in recent weeks. Last month, Lewis Mouldings in Weymouth was badly damaged.

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