Hoonah Sawmill Owners Hope To Resume Full Operation Soon

Matt Miller, KTOO – Juneau

A week after a fire destroyed a sawmill in Hoonah, its owners say they hope to resume full operation as soon as possible.

Wes Tyler, of Icy Straits Lumber and Milling, acknowledges that it’s a tough business to be in – especially with the current economy.

He says they’re trying to find a replacement sawmill. Tyler says it’ll likely be smaller, but more efficient and still able to do round log breakdown work.

After he secures financing, Tyler would like the sawmill on-site by the end of August

The previous sawmill was valued at about $800,000. Tyler says insurance will barely cover the loan on the destroyed building.

All the other facilities – the generator, planer, and air drying sheds, moulder, and dry kiln – were untouched by the fire that started the morning of July 22. The inventory was also unaffected.

Tyler says he has twelve employees. Most will be able to stay busy in the meantime with secondary manufacturing.

The state fire Marshall believes that something ignited the sawdust inside the building – triggering a series of explosions that destroyed the sawmill.

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