A May 7 fire on the property of Smucker Pelleting and RS Feed near Harrisburg, Oregon, heavily damaged a pellet feed mill and warehouse, according to a report.
Spontaneous combustion is suspected as the fire’s cause, although an investigation was still underway. Firefighters were first dispatched to the site around 10 p.m. on May 6, after workers noticed a pile of material smoldering inside the 95,000-square-foot structure. Workers hauled the material outside, while firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to gauge temperatures in the area. None of the readings exceeded 100 degrees.
After firefighters had been on the scene for about 20 minutes May 6, Steve Smucker, the owner of Smucker Pelleting, reportedly told firefighters he was satisfied that the problem was resolved and the firefighters left.
“We thought we had it all cleaned up. Evidently, we didn’t,” Steve Smucker told the Albany Democrat-Herald.
The fire was reported around 6 a.m. May 7. More than a half-dozen fire departments from three counties responded, it took two to three hours to contain the blaze. No injuries were reported.
Firefighters remained on the scene throughout the morning to monitor for hot spots. The partially collapsed structure continued to smoke that could be seen up to 5 miles away.
“It’ll probably burn for days with all the seed and pellets,” Harrisburg fire Capt. Bart Griffith said. “We’re trying to keep it to a minimum.”
Damage was estimated between $1 million and $2 million. Both businesses are insured. Smucker told the Albany newspaper he planned to rebuild.