An old mill belonging to Grain Craft in Pendleton, Oregon, was destroyed Wednesday morning due to a fire that broke out at the facility.
Grain Craft is the third-largest flour miller in the country and employs 22 people, according to the East Oregonian.
Just before 3 p.m. on Tuesday, authorities received reports that black smoke was emanating from the Pendleton Flour Mills.
The reports indicated that while smoke emerged from the area, there were no visible flames originating from the site, Pendleton City Police Chief Chuck Byram said in a Wednesday news release from the city.
Firefighters with the Pendleton Fire Department arrived on the scene and extinguished a small fire that had erupted at the mill.
At about 4 a.m. Wednesday, the fire reignited at the site, police said, with flames fully covering the mill because of the dry grain stored inside and because the structure was made of wood.
The local fire department and eight other agencies responded to the second fire. No injuries were reported.
While the building was destroyed, local officials maintained that the fire was an ongoing emergency situation due to the slow-burning grain.
Also on Wednesday, the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office announced that the nearby county courthouse was closed because the fire could burn for days, according to the East Oregonian.
In a Thursday update, city authorities said the local fire department and assisting agencies were still on the site, adding that firefighters are “going to have more long days ahead of them before this incident is over.”
Tony Pierotti, Pendleton’s assistant fire chief, said silos were at full capacity of finished grain, so the fuel for the fire has been extreme.
The causes of the fires were still under investigation.
The Pendleton Flour Mill was a historical structure in the city, dating to 1910 when it had been operated by a company known as Fisher Flour, which sold bagged flour in the Pacific Northwest, the East Oregonian reported.
The structure that was burned down this week dated to 1920, according to the newspaper.
“The mills became known for its highly successful Power and Mondako brands, plus its dedication to providing personalized customer service and superior products,” East Oregonian’s report said. “These included premium hard and soft wheat flour, and proprietary blends manufactured specifically to meet customers’ needs.”
The mills eventually passed hands to Grain Craft, which has operated the site since 2014.
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