A year after the fire that almost destroyed a Langley trucking firm, the employees are focussed on the bright side.
Things have been back to normal for a long time at the Ken Johnson Trucking firm, based in the Port Kells industrial area along the Langley-Surrey border near Walnut Grove.
On Oct. 2, 2012, things were far from normal as a vast cloud of black smoke rose above the garages.
Ken Johnson Trucking uses long-haul tanker trucks, and on that Tuesday last year, one of the tankers exploded.
One worker was injured and rushed to hospital, and firefighters converged on the area to prevent the fire from spreading further.
The dramatic scene saw several more explosions, thought to be tires or acetylene tanks, while firefighters set up their gear.
Power was knocked out to the surrounding neighbourhood, and police and firefighters evacuated an area half a mile wide.
However, the fire could have been much worse, and was knocked down before it destroyed the trucking firm's offices.
The employees came together and rallied, neighbouring businesses helped out, and the company was only closed for a couple of days after the fire.
"It was a hiccup, and we're moving forward," said Mike Pulles, one of the dispatchers who coordinate the movements of the company's trucks.
He remembered how employees from nearby businesses brought water and helped
out during the immediate crisis.
Sherry Johnson, the company's accounting supervisor, said the staff of 45 coped really well in the aftermath.
"We just kind of supported one another," she said.
The Johnson family brought their own motorhome to the site, along with a diesel generator, and started using that as an office in the days after the fire. That let them get up and running.
Because firefighters had prevented the fire from devouring the entire building, the offices had been largely spared. Once the smoke damage was cleaned out, about a week after the fire, the staff could go back inside.
The company publicly thanked their neighbours, the emergency responders, and the wider community in the aftermath of the fire, calling them "second to none." Still, the staff are happy to put that day behind them, said Sherry Johnson.
Last week the company held its annual open house. They postponed the usual June event to September following the final completion of the reconstruction of its buildings.
@ Copyright 2013