Cowlitz 2 and Longview firefighters extinguished a fire in a decommissioned dust collector at the Norpac pulp mill Wednesday morning.
No one was injured, and the company did not lose any production time.
The call came in at 9:19 a.m. and firefighters could see smoke billowing above the mill from blocks away, Longview Battalion Chief Troy Buzalsky said.
Workers at Weyerhaeuser Co., which jointly owns Norpac, were welding a door near the top of the approximately 50-foot-tall structure when sparks flew inside and ignited dust and wood particles inside the dust collector, more formally known as a “bag house,” company spokesman Anthony Chavez said.
Once firefighters arrived, they raised a ladder truck and sprayed water inside, preventing flames from leaping outside the bag house, Buzalsky said. The fire was under control within a half hour, but firefighters also cut holes in the bottom of the bag house and sprayed foam inside to douse smoldering debris, he said.
A duct system connected from the bag house to Weyerhaeuser’s nearby panel mill, and Buzalsky said firefighters wanted to make sure no sparks spread.
“We worried about the possibility of a flash fire in the dust,” he said.
Firefighters spent another hour putting down the fire and left the scene two hours after the call, Buzalsky said.
Longview Fire sent two engines, a ladder truck, a medic and one chief. Cowlitz 2 sent an engine and a chief’s vehicle. Combined, the two agencies sent 19 firefighters to the call.