Swift Lumber busy repairing damage

Published 12:45 pm Monday, August 1, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
Swift Lumber is no stranger to hurricane-related damage.
During Hurricane Ivan, Swift's lumberyard on Swift Mill Road was heavily damaged by its powerful winds. Although Hurricane Dennis didn't produce as much damage as Ivan, it did its fair share.
"We had two sheds that were destroyed, they were totaled," Swift Lumber president Robin Swift said. "We had significant damage to five more buildings. There wasn't more damage than Ivan, but it's pretty comparable. We were hurt pretty badly in both of them."
Swift believes the size of Hurricane Ivan is what caused Atmore to be hit so hard last September, and that the path of Hurricane Dennis simply put Atmore in its crosshairs.
"Dennis was fairly a narrow storm, it wasn't near as wide as Ivan, it just happened to come right over Atmore," he said.
The sheds destroyed by Hurricane Dennis are used for dry storage of finished lumber. Swift believes it will take a few more months to rebuild the totaled buildings, but was happy to report that most of the minor damage had already been repaired.
"We're nearly through repairing the damaged sheds and the two that were destroyed, one of them we're not going to replace and the other one, we're going to put up a new building," he said.
Not only does the recent facility damage concern Swift, but the amount of timber loss during the two storms in less than a year does as well.
"The bad news on the lumber side is the downed timber," he said. "There's quite a bit of timber down. A lot of landowners tried to salvage as much timber as possible. We didn't see near as much timber loss in Dennis as in Ivan."
Swift explained that a lot of the timber that would normally be cut down and placed on the market for sale has been lost.
"The storms have pushed the market cycle up," he said. "Our concern is with the timber supply over the next few years. It's not a good thing. A lot of the timber was left in the woods and couldn't be salvaged. That's a loss for everyone, us and any other landowners. There's no good news in this for us."
As for Swift Lumber's day-to-day operations, Swift reported that all systems are go.
"As far as operations, we are back to normal other than the lack of storage space with the sheds that were destroyed," he said. "We should have new shed in place in the two to three months."
As for another hurricane, Swift doesn't want to hear it.
"We sure need relief, we need a beak."

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