Owner to rebuild 180,000-sq-ft sawmill after massive fire
SAGINAW, Ore. - The owner of a wood products plant in western Oregon destroyed by a fire says he will rebuild the business.
Walter Whitsell, owner of Whitsell Manufacturing, told The Register-Guard that he intends to get the business up and going again - and plans to rebuild the sawmill destroyed in the May 27th fire. The fire could be seen as far as 20 miles away.
The fire, first reported at 7:30 pm last Sunday the 27th, completely engulfed the mill within 30 minutes. Flames in the mill could be seen from a half-mile away - while billowing 3,000-foot plumes of smoke could be seen in the town of Eugene around 20 miles to the north. After the fire decimated the mill, it spread to the rest of the company's 46-acre site, engulfing the log supply.
Firefighters say it is unclear what caused the fire. No injuries were reported. 
At least 150 employees could be affected.
Video by The Register-Guard
Around 50 firefighters from multiple departments engaged in the fire, which drew many spectators. With so much wood in its wake and with winds fanning the flames, firefighters quickly realized fighting the fire was futile.
Whitsell Manufacturing purchases raw materials from sawmills and turns them into various dimensional lumber products for resale.

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Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at [email protected].