Vale, Steelworkers to investigate Clarabelle fire – by Heidi Ulrichsen (Sudbury Northern Life – August 30, 2013)

A joint investigation into an Aug. 28 fire at Vale’s Clarabelle Mill will be conducted by the company and the union representing mill workers, Steelworkers Local 6500.

“Typically, when we have an instance such as a fire, we do launch an investigation to determine the cause … so we can learn what we can from it and prevent something like that from happening again,” Vale spokesperson Angie Robson said.

“As per our protocol, we’ve launched an investigation jointly with the union to look into this.” Robson said she can’t speculate as to how long the investigation will take. She said the investigation team will write a report about the incident that will be circulated internally.

The fire was reported in one of the mill’s crushing lines at around 9:15 a.m., and the all-clear was given at around 10:50 a.m., at which time employees were allowed to return to the building.

Robson said she doesn’t yet know the cause of the fire, although Greater Sudbury Fire Services Public Safety Officer Leo Frappier said it was a conveyor belt that caught fire, causing thick, black smoke to stream from the buiding.

No one was hurt in the incident, although two employees had to be rescued by firefighters from the mill’s roof.

Vale wants to commend firefighters for their work, Robson said.

“They did an excellent job extinguishing the fire and ensuring everyone’s safety,” she said.

Although fire services originally estimated the damages at $2 million, Robson said Vale’s preliminary estimates put damages much lower at $250,000.

There as a minimal impact on production because Clarabelle has three crusher lines and normally only uses two at a time. Robson said the company will have the affected crusher line up and running this weekend.