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Cause of Sunday's fire at Profab Manufacturing still under investigation

Chemainus firefighters donned oxygen tanks to snuff Sunday
Chemainus firefighters donned oxygen tanks to snuff Sunday's smokey fire at ProFab Manufacturing Ltd. near Mural Town.
— image credit: Lindsay Chung

Profab Manufacturing Ltd. is down but definitely not out of keeping staffers working and customers happy after Sunday's smoke-filled fire.

"We're still operating, and will have another shop available as of Wednesday," Profab's Janice Gowanlock said of her 22 workers' temporary space at 3315 Smiley Rd., Chemainus.

"We're doing our best to keep everyone working."

While staff continue building Profab's various log-truck trailers and industrial-transport trailers, investigation continues by Rob Clark, assistant to the fire commissioner, into how and where the blaze started at around 8 a.m. Sunday.

He was unavailable for comment by deadline Tuesday.

Smoke in Profab's insured metal building at 3128 Hope Place was spotted by someone at a neighbouring business, and 911 was called.

"When I got there, it was pretty gut-wrenching seeing a block-long line of fire engines and ambulances," Gowanlock said, relieved no one was injured in the blaze fought by Chemainus, Crofton and Ladysmith crews.

Damage basically involved mechanics' tools, welding equipment and other gear inside Profab's building, while property in the yard was unscathed, she explained.

Owner Jason LeRoy plans to renovate and reopen his scorched building, given insurance nods, Gowanlock explained.

Chemainus fire hall was backed by Crofton hall's tanker truck, plus a ladder rig from Ladysmith's fire hall.

Al Irwin, Chemainus hall's deputy chief, declined to comment about the blaze's cause, and extent of damage.

Profab was established in 1996 when local loggers found no one made a log trailer that would hold up to rugged conditions of B.C.'s coastal terrain, states the firm's website.

"Profab Manufacturing proved to be so successful in meeting these needs, that requests began to flow in for other custom-built trailers. Since that time, Profab has expanded its manufacturing abilities into other classifications of industrial transport trailers."

Gowanlock praised local support for her fire-ravaged firm.

"There's been an incredible outpouring of help from neighbouring companies around here."

Profab can be called at 250-416-0212.

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