Fire broke out Tuesday for the second time this year at a wood pellet plant in Houston.
No one was injured in the blaze, which ignited on the morning of Dec. 20 in a conveyor system that runs outside the building.
Fire Chief Jim Daigneault says it is difficult to tell exactly what sparked it.
“It’s really hard to tell what starts a fire in those areas,” he said. “Basically, it’s an enclosed system.”
Daigneault said he and a dozen volunteer firefighters drove out in two engines to control the fire. When they arrived, smoke and sparks were flying into the main building from the conveyor system and open flames were burning in a few places.
Daigneault said the crew cooled things down before turning on the conveyor system’s internal sprinklers—a high-volume “deluge” system with faucets that spray like a fire hose.
“It’s something you don’t turn on until you really need it,” he said.
Located beside the Canfor sawmill, Houston’s Pinnacle Pellet plant has had several such fires since 2006, including one this past April.
Wood pellets are a highly combustible fuel made from compacted sawdust. When finished, they have just six per cent water content.