Kraft Mill to be imploded Saturday morning

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer
memara@fortfrances.com

The Fort Frances Kraft Mill is set to be imploded on Saturday between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., with the building falling to the west.

Jeff Norton, president of the Canadian National Demolition (CND), said they are going to use an explosive detonation.

There is a 300-metre exclusion zone for pedestrians and vehicles. Road closures will include Sinclair and Elizabeth, Church and Victoria, Scott and Portage and Scott and Mowat.

Road closures will commence just prior to the blast and will remain in effect for 30 minutes after the implosion.

“I’d like people to respect the exclusion zone and not try to pass barriers and my security staff,” Norton said. “There are not a lot of viewing areas outside of my exclusion zone. I just ask the public to respect the road closures and understand that we’re blasting a big building.”

Norton said months of planning have gone into preparing for Saturday’s implosion to ensure it is executed safely and efficiently.

Norton said to maximize safety precautions, the implosion site will have 24-hour security for the days leading up to the blast. He said there is also added protocol to follow to ensure that no one is left in the blast zone.

“There’s a team of 12 putting this together for Saturday,” Norton said. “There will be nobody within the zone during the blast. My team will be in a safe area, closing roads and operating security.”

Norton said it will take CND another six to eight months before they are done completely cleaning up the site. Norton did not comment on the fate of the Biomass Boiler.

“It’ll be the dismantling of the building itself now that it’s much shorter because it’s on its side,” he added.

While town officials are aware of the implosion, Norton said no one is involved and no one from the town will be on site. Town officials have not confirmed implosion details to the Times.

Norton added that the fire department, all officials and governing authorities are aware of CND’s implosion plan.

“I thank the community for their cooperation and patience through this very large project,” Norton said.

The Fort Frances Kraft Mill structure will be imploded early Saturday morning, between 5 and 9 a.m. The plan has been months in planning, with a team of 12 demolition employees coming to carry out the job. Several blocks will be blocked off, for the safety of residents. – Merna Emara photo

The demolition marks the end of almost 50 years of life for the Kraft Mill. Construction began in 1970 following years of feasibility study, planning and engineering. According to a 1971 issue of the Fort Frances Times, the Kraft Mill construction was a $45 million investment that employed about 300 people. It was seen as an answer to the continuing and expanding demand for wood pulp to make paper.

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