Explosion, two-alarm fire at wood pellet manufacturer


Explosion, two-alarm fire damages Banks wood pellet manufacturer

on July 31, 2014 at 8:37 PM, updated August 01, 2014 at 6:16 AM 


A wood pellet manufacture in Banks closed for the day after an explosion and two-alarm fire damaged the business early Thursday.

Four employees safely escaped the fire at West Oregon Wood Products on Northwest Sunset Avenue, said Banks Fire District  Chief Brian Coussens. The official cause of the explosion and fire are
still under investigation. The business creates wood pellets for stoves.

The incident was reported about 3:15 a.m., and the business' president, Mike Knobel, said equipment related to air filtration in the pellet creation process is suspected to have caused the explosion.

Several pieces of production equipment sustained severe fire-related damages, Coussens said. The blaze was extinguished with no injuries.

Knobel said he was grateful to the responding firefighters and that millwrights were assisting in inspecting the site to determine a cause.

The company has another plant in Columbia City and the fire in Banks isn't expected to affect West Oregon Wood Products' inventory, according to Knobel.

"We'll be down," he said, "but it will be for a short time."


Rebecca Woolington of The Oregonian staff contributed to this report.
-- Everton Bailey Jr.




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