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A smoldering fire at KapStone caused in an unknown amount of damage to mill’s biggest paper machine Tuesday.

Crews from Longview Fire and Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue responded to a call of a smoldering fire at about 7:15 a.m. Tuesday morning at Paper Machine No. 10. By the time firefighters arrived, sprinklers had already doused much of the flames, but there was a small amount of smoldering from the burning machine, said Captain Randy Bradshaw of Longview Fire.

Firefighters worked with KapStone crews to identify hot spots underneath the hood of the machine and on the roof, Bradshaw said. KapStone’s own emergency response team used the company’s hoses to put out the hot spots, Bradshaw said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, he added.

Paper machine No. 10 reportedly was already down for scheduled maintenance, and it’s not clear yet when it will be restarted, mill workers said. The No. 10 machine produces containerboard, primarily for KapStone’s corrugated box plants in the Pacific Northwest.

An image of the blaze that was sent around to media outlets was potentially taken before fire crews arrived, Bradshaw said.

“The picture is much more impressive than the story,” he said.

Likely the image appeared more dramatic because the dust was ablaze, he said.

“You get all this glowing and this fantastic fire when you have a dust buildup, and it doesn’t take much dust,” Bradshaw said.

Firefighters left the scene by 8:20 a.m., but KapStone workers said they continued to mop up the fire until mid-day.

KapStone officials were not immediately available for comment. No injuries were reported.


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