Archived News

Fire at Canton mill contained

Responding from a number of jurisdictions, emergency vehicles lined up outside the mill's gates. Responding from a number of jurisdictions, emergency vehicles lined up outside the mill's gates. Cory Vaillancourt photo

A potentially dangerous situation at the Evergreen Packaging paper mill in Canton earlier today is under control.

Details were scarce initially, but Canton Fire Chief Tim Carver said at 12:45 p.m. that a structure fire within the mill was ongoing, and that various first responders were being brought in to address it. Carver also said he wasn’t aware of any injuries or casualties associated with the fire at that time.

Around 3:30 p.m., Canton Mayor Zeb Smathers was able to reassure workers and their families that the situation had been brought under control.

This morning I was contacted and informed that there was a fire in Evergreen Packaging. As a precaution the Canton Fire Department and a number of volunteer departments responded in a timely and effective manner and I’m happy to report that the fire is contained, with no loss of life occurring. I do not know all the details and the investigation is ongoing. Evergreen is a private company and is dealing with it in an internal fashion,” Smathers said.

The incident never rose to the level of necessitating evacuations of citizens or businesses outside of Evergreen's sprawling facility, according to Smathers.

“I attribute that to chief Canton Fire Chief Tim Carver and the chiefs of the volunteer departments – not just from Haywood but other counties also,” he said. “This is what they train for, and I have no doubt that because of their training and response, along with internal action by Evergreen, this dangerous situation could have been much worse across the board.”

Related Items

Smathers said he was not aware of any risk to hazardous chemicals that are stored on site.

This latest incident comes on the heels of another fire at the plant in late September, 2020 during which two contract workers performing maintenance work on a tank were killed.

The century-old mill sits in the heart of Canton, as well as in the heart of Haywood County’s economy. More than a thousand workers are employed there, making it one of the county’s largest employers.

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.