Leaking oil blamed for Vaagen Brothers Lumber Mill fire

A leaking oil line at the Vaagen Brothers Lumber Mill in Colville is to blame for a late-night fire that sent two people to the hospital.

Firefighters from Stevens County were sent to the mill just after 9 p.m. Wednesday night and spent two hours fighting the fire before they were able to extinguish it. Investigators found an oil line had leaked and caught fire, burning the facility’s main switch gear.

Workers in the mill at the time of the fire said it spread quickly and when they returned from retrieving fire extinguishers the flames had reached 20 feet high.

Two employees were sent to the hospital with smoke inhalation and are expected to be fine.

Because the switch gear was damaged in the fire the power to the sawmill is out. Vaagen says the switch gear will take between two weeks to two months to fix and in the meantime they will not be able to dry out lumber through their boiler system. Employees at the company are expected to remain working during the time it takes to fix the mill.

Damage to the mill is estimated at $1 Million.

The Vaggen Brothers mill sits on the edge of Colville at the end of West 5th Street. The mill is one of the largest lumber mills in the state and a major employer in the city of Colville.