Just before 5 a.m. on June 5, 2021, firefighters from TVF&R and Hillsboro Fire & Rescue responded to a fire at a lumber mill located near the corner of Main and Commercial streets in North Plains. Firefighters contained the fire to a small building adjacent the large mill. Firefighters remained on scene for several hours mopping up hot spots and using thermal imagers to look for heat signatures in the building. An investigator determined that the cause of the fire was accidental and originated in an electrical room. The scene was released to the mill, and workers demolished the damaged building.
At 3:49 p.m., firefighters were called back to the site because mill workers spotted smoke coming from a tall hopper containing sawdust. Due to the significant amount of combustible material and threatened buildings nearby, the fire commander called a second alarm to bring more firefighters and equipment to the scene. A semi-truck trailer full of sawdust was located under the hopper and its contents also caught fire. The truck was moved across the street where firefighters and a City of North Plains public works employee emptied the slow burning contents.
Firefighters have been filling the large hopper with water and will remain on scene for several hours to douse hot spots and decontaminate tools and equipment. The cause of the second fire remains under investigation. No mill workers or firefighters were injured.
TVF&R is grateful for the help from Hillsboro Fire & Rescue, Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (911), Banks Fire District, Washington County Sheriffs Office, the City of North Plains, and Metro West Ambulance.