Spearfish Fire Department knocks down fire Saturday at pellet company
SPEARFISH, SD (Aug. 24, 2020) – The Spearfish Fire Department knocked down a fire reported early Saturday morning that caused approximately $5,000 worth of damage at the Spearfish Pellet Company.
The department was paged out at approximately 5 a.m. Saturday after receiving a report of flames coming out of the smokestack at the Spearfish Pellet Company, located off of West Oliver Street.
The department’s ladder truck was set up for an 85-foot aerial extinguishment operation of the smokestacks, first extinguishing the fire in the larger stack, before moving to extinguish the fire that started in the smaller stack to the north. While extinguishing the smaller stack, flames and smoke appeared in and towards the facility’s hopper, so the department moved the ladder truck to the north to extinguish the hopper and other tubing/vents showing smoke, heat, and steam. Approximately 3,000 gallons of water were used during the call. The fire was out at approximately 9:30 a.m., with a 48-hour watch put in place to check for any additional smoldering.
In terms of the fire’s cause, Spearfish Fire Department Division Chief Travis Ladson explained that Spearfish Pellet Company experienced a power outage at approximately 4:50 a.m., which disabled circulation fans. Residual heat from the air heater caused ignition of material in the recycle ducting due to the power outage, and the facility’s immediate fire suppression system was ineffective without the air velocity of the fan.
“This was a great example of how our ladder truck is a must-have to be able to extinguish the type of fire we were dealing with on this incident,” Ladson said.
The Spearfish Fire Department had 17 firefighters on scene, with an additional four firefighters responding from the Belle Fourche Volunteer Fire Department. In addition, the Spearfish Police Department, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, Spearfish Emergency Ambulance Service, Spearfish Fire Department Auxiliary, and Lawrence County Emergency Management also assisted at the scene.
The Spearfish Fire Department’s ladder truck was set up for an 85-foot aerial extinguishment operation of the smokestacks at the Spearfish Pellet Company on Saturday, August 22, 2020. Photo courtesy of Travis Ladson, Spearfish Fire Department