Fibreco silo collapse under investigation

The collapse of a grain silo on the North Vancouver waterfront is now under investigation.

Around 2:15 p.m. Friday, one of the brand new, 12-storey tall grain storage bins at Fibreco’s McKeen Avenue export terminal experienced a structural failure during loading, according to a statement from the company.

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“Our first priority is the safety and well-being of everyone who works here, and that of our surrounding community neighbours. We are pleased to confirm no one was injured and that we effectively deployed our emergency response protocol,” the statement read.

“We are working with various government organizations to investigate the cause and concurrently developing a plan to safely resume operations as soon as possible.”

The silo appears to have buckled from the bottom. As of Tuesday, it remains partially standing and leaning up against the adjacent grain silos.

District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services members set up a “collapse zone” around the listing silo to make sure no one could get into any dangerous areas while structural engineers determine what should be done next.

WorkSafeBC also sent a prevention officer to the site.

Fibreco is owned by a consortium of forestry companies. It was originally built to export wood pellets and chip byproducts from the lumber industry.

In 2017, the company announced plans to redevelop the site and build all new silos and elevators for exporting grain.

The District of North Vancouver granted building permits for the site in February 2018.

The silos were built by Winnipeg-based Ag Growth International Inc. The company released a statement on Tuesday acknowledging the collapse.

“The cause of and any responsibility for the incident is not yet known, and as such the company is not able to determine any costs it may incur related to the incident,” the statement read. “As part of its standard protocol, in investigating this incident the company will be investigating all bins in the product line.”

Fibreco’s site contains 15 similar silos. Ag Growth International has been hired to build 20 more silos for another customer. Ag Growth International stock fell more than 9 per cent, or $3.18 per share, on Tuesday.

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