An energy pellet-plant in Cottondale, FL, is back up and running after a weekend fire caused damages.
Several crews put out the fire at the Enviva Pellets Cottondale facility.
A conveyor belt caught fire Saturday morning before 10 a.m., company spokesperson said, but it is now up and running after repairs.
“When we arrived there was fire all the way across the bottom elevator, ” said Marianna Fire Rescue Capt. George Gay. The fire required help from multiple fire squads.
“Somewhere in that process in one of the lower conveyers, they developed a fire. Because the conveyer is moving and in an enclosed tube, it carried the fire rapidly,” Gay said.
The fire quickly spread to other structures.
“It made the first tower, and within minutes of our arrival it already made it across to the second elevator,” said Gay.
However, as frightening as the fire looked it wasn’t as damaging.
A spokesperson said after a ‘thorough inspection, the plant returned to safe operations’ on the same day as the fire.
“Surprising enough, we talked to the plant manager and it didn’t hinder the operations of the pellets. They kept making pellets,” Gay said.
Gay said the facility is prone to catch fire.
“You’re dealing with a product they’re bringing in. It’s a chip process, and it’s designed to burn,” Gay saod.
“They’re building a fuel product, so anytime you have a fire it has the potential to become a massive fire. In this case it was a fairly large fire but it was easy to maintain fairly quickly, ’cause it was confined to the conveyor belt,” Gay said.
Two employees who tried to fight the fire were treated for smoke inhalation, and are already back at work.
The plant opened in 2008, and was called Green Circle Bio-Energy, Inc. Enviva bought it in January 2015.