Friday, April 13, 2012

Grain Terminal Fires Hit Portland, Longview

Two grain terminal fires have occurred within days of each other in the greater Portland area, but the two blazes are believed to be unrelated.

On April 10, firefighters were called to Columbia Grain, Inc. in north Portland around 11:15 a.m. after an employee smelled smoke coming from a 125-foot silo, according to Portland Fire & Rescue.

The fire, which turned out to be caused by one of the facility’s grain elevators, was quickly doused, but firefighters remained on hand for several hours afterward to monitor the silo for signs of smoke. No injuries were reported.

Columbia Grain exports hard and soft wheat to destinations around the world. At the time of the fire, the Nord Ocean cargo ship out of Panama was docked at the grain facility awaiting a load of grain, according to Portland Fire.

The ship was not affected by the fire, according to the fire department.

Days earlier, on April 7, several fire agencies responded to a grain fire at the new EGT terminal at the Port of Longview.

The blaze started just before 9 am in the conveyor system above the Panama-flagged freighter Navios Gemini S, which was being loaded with wheat. Burning debris fell into the ship’s hull, but the ship itself suffered no damage, according to fire authorities.

The fire, which was extinguished by 2 pm, is still under investigation to determine the exact cause, according to the port.

No injuries were reported, but the ship’s operators say they’ve elected to keep the vessel’s other two loaders offline for at least a few days while the fire’s cause in investigated.