MENU

'These explosions are a backdraft-like phenomenon': Fire at Douglas County Forest Products

Mill Silo Fire.PNG
Dispatchers received calls about an explosion before flames were visible, Fire Marshal Ray Shoufler said in a statement. (Douglas County Fire District No. 2)

ROSEBURG, Ore. (KMTR) - Medics took a mill employee and a firefighter to the hospital after a silo and three bins full of wood chip savings exploded in flames early Wednesday morning, Douglas County Fire District No. 2 said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Richard Mathews is the general manager of the mill. He says an employee was treated for smoke inhalation.

Fire officials say a firefighter had an injury at the scene.

The identities and conditions of the injured firefighter and mill worker are not yet known. They were taken to Mercy Medical Center for treatment.

Mathews says they don't know the extent of the damage and can't say if they will have to close the mill while they clean up.

Crews responded to Douglas County Forest Products, 398 Del Rio Rd, at 2:59 a.m.

Firefighters found the 80-foot-tall silo and bins on fire.

Dispatchers received calls about an explosion before flames were visible, Fire Marshal Ray Shoufler said in a statement.

"The mechanism of these explosions are a backdraft-like phenomenon, which is the result of oxygen being introduced into areas built up of heat and gases from incomplete combustion needing only a source of oxygen for a combustion explosion," Shoufler explained. "The explosion was possible by the presence of wood dust, which may have added to the fuel load in the form of finely dispersed combustible particles."

Video courtesy Christopher Newman

The fire district responded with three fire engines, a ladder truck and a command unit. They were assisted by Roseburg Fire Department, Calapooia Rural Fire Department and Pacific Power and Light.