On Sept. 16, Mission firefighters battled a mill blaze, on Tuesday night, mill owner Manny Gill thanked the firefighters and donated $3,000 (below) to their organization. / Kevin Mills Photo

Victim of Mission mill fire gives back to community

Quick response time helps save mill, but disrupts retirement party

Mission Fire Rescue always reacts quickly to any emergency call. However, sometimes circumstances make the reaction time quicker than expected, even if it disrupts a retirement party.

On Sept. 16, local firefighters had gathered at the fire hall on Seventh Ave. for the retirement party of former Station 1 District Chief Dana Heriot.

Less than 10 minutes into the celebration, the alarm was sounded as Island Cedar Products, on Harbour Ave. had clouds of dark smoke rising from the building.

Mission Fire Chief Dale Unrau explained that because most of the firefighters were at the retirement event, “Station 1 was able to roll out all of its trucks within minutes of the call coming in.”

While that left Heriot virtually alone at his own party, it allowed a full crew to arrive on scene quickly enough to get the blaze under control and limit the damage.

“They were able to bring it under control very quickly… and we were able to save a lot more of the mill,” said Unrau

Manny Gill, owner of Island Cedar, visited the station on Tuesday night and thanked Mission firefighters for their fast work.

Gill also made a donation of $3,000 to the Mission Fire Fighters Association.

“It feels better when you give back to the community,” said Gill.

Looking back on the night of the fire, Gill said when he arrived at the mill, the firefighters were already there and working on containment.

“It was a pretty hard day, but they saved a lot of our mill.”

Gill didn’t realize just how much damage was prevented, until a few weeks later. Two weeks after the fire, once the investigation was complete, he had a mill tour.

“On that day I realized they had done a really wonderful job. If you go underneath the mill, nothing got burnt. They kept the fire just on the second floor.”

He decided then that he had to do something to show his appreciation.

The money he donated will go to good use.

“Mission Firefighters Association has a charitable part to the group and they fund different charities throughout the community,” explained Unrau.

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