The state fire marshal's office is currently investigating Friday's structure fire at Rex Lumber in Graceville. A kiln caught fire yesterday afternoon. A firefighter on scene, Captain Ben Bell, says while it's not a common occurrence for a kiln to catch fire, it does happen occasionally.
"Various times we have went around there for this," says Bell. "Usually the saw mill is usually able to get the wood out before it's able to damage the structure in any way."
However that was not the case yesterday afternoon. The kiln was filled to full capacity which made it harder for firefighters to get to the root of the fire. "The fire started towards the middle of the structure towards one end slightly, recalls Bell. "There was a lot of wood we had to move to get to the pallet that was burning."
It took 14 fire departments and 8 hours to put out yesterday's blaze. Meanwhile, today workers came to work as they normally would. Rex lumber did not want to comment but did release a statement. In it, they say they are thankful there were no injuries...and extended their thanks to the multiple fire departments who came to aid with the fire.
Captain Ben Bell also tells me this fire is one of the biggest the city of Graceville has seen in the last 5 years. About a third of the structure was lost to the fire.