Devastating fire at Windsor Plywood on Salt Spring Island causes major damage

Update as of 2021 June 09 at 01:55 PM: Nine days since the devastating fire that fully engulfed and destroyed the main retail space of Windsor Plywood on Salt Spring, the site is alive with people and activity working to restore service for the local trades, building community and homeowners.

"We've had a tremendous amount of support and response from our community and our team members have been incredible supporting all the things we've needed to do get back up and running to support customers and the community." - Mike Stefancsik, Owner/Manager

Demolition work has begun on the main structure destroyed in the fire, temporary buildings lent to Windsor Plywood by Fields who took over the former Slegg Lumber Yard are in place, temporary water/septic services are being installed, Shaw has been on site to restore telephone and data services, forensic investigators are in the process of conducting their investigation into the cause of the fire and today on site, a massive, temporary retail space is being set up inside a 4500 sq.ft tent purchased by the business. Management expects that the tent will serve as a retail space fitted out with a temporary subfloor for the 12-18 months it will take to rebuild the main store lost in the fire. Replacement of inventory lost in the fire is being managed with the local Windsor team along with the management of the main Windsor Plywood corporate team.

"Without the reaching out of the community over the last nine days our staff and management team definitely not have the energy or the enthusiasm to get going going forward and we have it. The corporate team of Windsor Plywood have been incredible in their support helping us to get going with all the temporary services we need to be open now and with planning the new future for Windsor Plywood here on Salt Spring Island." - Ken Marr, Owner/President

Windsor Plywood remains open at both their Rainbow Road and Beddis Road locations with significant amounts of inventory unaffected by the fire.

Watch video featuring Assistant Manager, Jess Harkema, Mike Stefancsik and Ken Marr from the site this afternoon as well as photos of the demolition in progress.

Update as of 2021 June 03 at 04:55 PM: Windsor Plywood Management update - Blown away is the expression of the week. The support from this amazing community has left us speechless with support of lunches, baked goods, chocolate and labour, along with offers of donations for affected staff. Our incredible staff have already moved mountains. This morning two temporary buildings were placed on site at Rainbow Road that will become offices. Plans are in place to have power, water and internet set up, along with a new server on it’s way for our computer system. Our yard team have been running hard all week prepping our site and supporting the fire fighters. We are truly so fortunate to have a team that has risen to the occasion. As of Friday, June 4th, account sales will be available at the Rainbow Location as well as the Beddis Road location. We ask that only those who need supplies and have an account with us come in. We are anticipating being able to open to the general public soon with non-account sales too, but wish to focus on providing supplies to contractors and tradespeople that rely on us to keep their businesses going. Please check-in at the gate with staff before entering the property, as we will be controlling access to the site. Rainbow Road will be open for Account Sales on Saturday from 9am-5pm, Beddis Road Closed. We will also have a temporary phone line for Beddis Road which can be used to book delivery and inquire about products. 250-537-5564 - What’s left?! A lot, the only structure affected by the fire is the main structure and all it’s contents. All our outbuildings and sea cans are still intact, and the lumber yard was not affected; Lumber, Drywall, Down pipe, Concrete/Cement, Simpson Supplies, Ducting, PVC Fittings and Pipe, Rope and Wire, PEX Pipe, ABS, Conduit, Doors, Hot water Tanks, Treated Lumber, Sanded Plywoods, Pencil Posts, Pavers, Fencing, Rigid Styrofoam, Rebar, Fence Panels and more! Our new hours: Rainbow Road: 7am-5pm Monday - Friday, 8am-5pm Saturday, Sunday Closed - Beddis Road: 6:30am - 3:00pm Monday - Friday, Saturday - Sunday - Closed

Update as of 2021 June 02 at 04:20 PM: Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue crews have fully contained the fire and are no longer on site. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Rainbow Road traffic is open in both directions. Security is on location to protect the site.

Update as of 2021 June 01 at 06:20 PM: Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue (SSIFR) release statement about today's fire at Windsor Plywood: SSIFR responded to a report of alarm bells in the area of 167 Rainbow Road at 02:35 June 1, 2021. Upon arrival the crews found smoke coming from Windsor Plywood at 166 Rainbow Road and additional resources were paged out for a commercial structure fire. Twenty-six firefighters and eight apparatus were used in extinguishment of the fire over a fifteen-hour period, flowing in excess of 100,000 gallons of water. There were no firefighter or civilian injuries to report, and we are happy to say Cedar, the Windsor Plywood cat, was spotted Tuesday morning spooked but safe. SSIFR would like to thank the RCMP, BCAS, BC Hydro, Emcon, and North Salt Spring Water Works for their efforts in assist us with this challenging incident. We would also like to thank Embe Bakery, Thirfty’s Foods and Country Grocery for keeping our members fueled and hydrated throughout the day. And finally, a special shout out the Windsor Plywood forklift operators Jim, Jamie and Adam for some excellent driving and assisting the crews with overhaul and moving lumber around. Rainbow Road remains closed between the high school and elementary school and security is in place overnight. Crews will return in the morning to continue overhaul and start our investigation. Thank you for keeping the area clear for us to do our work- Jamie Holmes, Acting Fire Chief (SSIFR)

Update as of 2021 June 01 at 02:34 PM: Windsor Plywood Management update - News travels fast, and we’re just getting our feet under us. We woke up to Windsor Plywood’s main building burned to the ground. We’re so fortunate that all our staff and Cedar the cat are safe. Our first priorities are staff, followed by contractors who rely on us to keep their business going and their employees at work. We estimate this affects approximately 1200 working people on Salt Spring Island and we want to reassure everyone that we are operational and will continue to be throughout this devastation. Our location at 225B Beddis Road is operating for on account sales ONLY with contractors as a priority. We have additional staff to support the sales and yard teams at Beddis Road to ensure our customers are well taken care of and we will be extending our hours to 6:30am - 5pm Monday - Friday and 9am-5pm Saturday, Closed Sunday. As soon as it is safe, we will get up and running at Rainbow Road as well. We have a very strong team who have already jumped into action to ensure we are stronger than ever moving forward. Anyone who wishes to pay their accounts or inquire can contact accounts payable at ar.ssi@windsorplywood.com or pay through online banking or cheque. Our showroom staff are available for flooring, countertops and cabinetry inquiries, orders and estimates through Jeff Outerbridge - 250-538-7878 jouterbridge@windsorplywood.com - Doors and Window Orders through Mike Stefancsik (Manager/Owner) at 250-537-7280 mstefan@windsorplywood.com - Feel free to contact Mike Stefancsik, Ken Marr (President/Owner) at 250-537-7260 kmarr@windsorplywood.com or Jess Harkema (Assistant Manager) at 250-538-2453 jharkema@windsorplywood.com for any other inquiries. We want to thank the outpouring of support from the customers, community organizations and businesses who have offered to help where they can. We have no words apart from THANK YOU. Most importantly, an incredible applaud and thanks to our firefighters, police and ambulance who responded to the calls early this morning and continue to be present to ensure that there is no further devastation.

Update as of 2021 June 01 at 11:14 AM: North Salt Spring Waterworks District (NSSWD) crew are repairing and refilling the Maxwell Water System after the Rainbow Road rire early Tuesday morning. As a precautionary measure, the NSSWD advises Maxwell Lake System users to boil water before drinking until water samples can verify that the water is safe to drink. Maxwell System Users Including all NSSWD customers in the Ganges Core. No contamination has been detected in the water but due to a loss of pressure and subsequent repairs, water quality may have been compromised in the parts of the system listed above.

Update as of 2021 June 01 at 10:59 AM: The 100 block of Rainbow Road is still closed in both directions. Please avoid this area. Salt Spring Fire crews and BC Ambulance are still on site. The fire is contained but still active. Smoke can be see all around the area while crews work to put out the last of the hotspots. The main retail structure of the Windsor Plywood store is completely destroyed. Adjacent buildings, structures, and surrounding yard areas appear undamaged. Windsor Plywood is open and operating out of their Beddis Road yard for account only sales.

Update as of 2021 June 01 at 09:09 AM: Update from Salt Spring Emergency - Due to the Windsor Plywood fire the 100 block of Rainbow Road is closed. Please avoid this area. Also conserve water especially the Maxwell Water District users.

Update as of 2021 June 01 at 07:49 AM: Note from the management at Windsor - Their main store went up in flames last night, but their Beddis Road sales yard is open for on account charges only today and they are working on getting the Rainbow Road yard up and going once it is safe to do so.

Update as of 2021 June 01 at 07:07 AM:Fire and ambulance crews were called to Windsor Plywood on the 100 block of Rainbow Road on Salt Spring Island overnight at around 3:00 AM for a large structure fire which appears to have engulfed the main retail building of the store. The fire is still burning but now under control with crews still on site assessing the damage. No word yet on what caused the fire or if any injuries have been reported.

Windsor Plywood is an essential service business and the only remaining major building material retailer on the island after Slegg Lumber vacated their location in 2019. The business is one of the larger employers on the island and is co-owned by Ken Marr and Mike Stefancsik.

We will update this story as we learn more.

June 1, 2021 7:07 AM

  • Richard Mellen says:

    This is terrible. I am so sad for Mike, Ken and his crew. They are the core of our community.

  • Sam B says:

    Yikes!
    Former Slegg Building Materials on Fulford-Ganges is available for occupancy.

  • Nicole says:

    except that Fields is supposed to be moving in this summer...

  • Leigh Anne Milne says:

    How awful! We are so very sorry to see this happen to such great people providing an essential service to the island. Wishing you a swift recovery. We will continue to support your business through this process. John and Leigh

  • w101 says:

    I hope the cat is OK... Looking forward to a beautiful new Windsor rebuild. with the latest technology. You got this Mike and Ken!

  • Fedoruk says:

    Not appropriate at this time.

  • Maggie Ramsey says:

    Shocking news... I hope that no one was injured and my best wishes to the staff and owners at this devastating news.

  • w101 says:

    That building is taken.. Fields is moving in "Salt Spring Fields store set to open this summer" The Driftwood May 4, 2021

  • diamor says:

    Fire may have destroyed the building but not all the wonderful people who are and who have been the most important part of Windsor. Windsor is a business with heart. You have helped us islanders through our own disasters and building projects. You were there for us, we will be there for you.

  • willysjeep says:

    The kitty is ok

  • Sam B says:

    My apologies to all offended.
    Having been woken up, at 4am, by fire & smoke in the sky, with bright truck lights, I was a bit sleep deprived….hence the optimistic /up of suggesting Old Slegg locale.
    Long distance virtual bow to any offended.

  • Sam B says:

    My apologies to all offended.
    Having been woken up, at 4am, by fire & smoke in the sky, with bright truck lights, I was a bit sleep deprived….hence the optimistic /up of suggesting Old Slegg locale.
    Long distance virtual bow to any offended.

  • Sam B says:

    Pardon my ignorance:

    My apologies to all offended.
    Having been woken up, at 4am, by fire & smoke in the sky, with bright truck lights, I was a bit sleep deprived….hence the optimistic /up of suggesting Old Slegg locale.
    Long distance virtual bow to any offended.