Vale workers rescued from rooftop: Final update – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – August 29, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Two employees working on a roof had to be rescued and were taken to hospital for examination, but there were no injuries after a $2-million fire broke out at Vale’s Clarabelle Mill on Wednesday at 9:15 a.m.

Thirty firefighters from five downtown stations responded in 10 vehicles and, in about 90 minutes, contained a fire that was belching black smoke into the area, said a fire official.

Leo Frappier, senior public safety officer with Greater Sudbury Fire Services, said at 11 a.m. the fire had been downgraded from a Level 2 to a Level 1, and was contained to the building. A Level 2 fire is one in which there could have been “contaminants in the air, but there’s none,” said Frappier.

Vale spokeswoman Angie Robson said no one was injured and there was no threat to public safety. By mid-afternoon, Robson said the fire seemed to have been confined to one of three crushing lines at the mill, so the impact on production was expected to be minimal.

The cause of the fire was unknown, she said, and there was no estimate of damage.

But Greater Sudbury Fire Services pegged damages at $2 million and Frappier said it was thought the fire might have started on a conveyor belt.

Once the all-clear was given by emergency services, employees at the mill were returned to the building, said Robson.

Operations were down mid-afternoon Wednesday, but work was being done to get the plant running again, she said.

Wess Dowsett is area co-ordinator of United Steelworkers, whose members are production and maintenance workers at Clarabelle Mill. He said USW Local 6500’s health and safety officers and its health and safety committee were looking into the fire as soon as it was reported.

Robson said it is always Vale’s “desire” to do joint investigations into incidents such as this, and said the company was in conversation with the union about the fire.

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