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Silverton grass fire damages firewood facility

By James Day

A two-alarm grass fire on Aug. 1 severely damaged a Silverton firewood processing facility off of Pine Street.

The blaze, which consumed approximately five acres,  was caused by sparks from farm machinery, said Keith Veit, assistant chief of the Silverton Fire District.

“A tractor was mowing wheat stubble in the field and it is believed that a spark from the mower started the blaze,” Veit said. “I would like to note that this was unintentional in nature.”

The fire threatened other commercial structures along Airport Road as well as nearby homes, Veit said.

Nearly 40 pieces of apparatus were deployed, Veit said, including five privately owned farm water tenders and a large excavator that was brought to the scene by a Silverton Fire District volunteer.

“This individual,” said Veit, referring to the volunteer,  “recognized the need for heavy equipment [to] extinguish the fire, saving countless hours [of] labor and drastically reducing the time emergency equipment would be needed to remain on scene.”

Compounding the challenge for fire crews was that the major product of the commercial facility, firewood, also served as fuel for the fire. Charred logs could be seen strewn about the fire zone in the days following the fire.

One Silverton firefighter was briefly treated at a hospital for smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported, Veit said.

Assisting the Silverton Fire District were Woodburn Fire District, Monitor Fire District, Hubbard Fire District, Drakes Crossing Fire District, Stayton Fire District, Marion County Fire District, Sublimity Fire District, Mt. Angel Fire District, Woodburn Ambulance, Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office, Silverton Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Metcom911 and the farmers who contributed their water tenders.

“We are extremely lucky to have such resources available from neighboring agencies and we are proud to have such great working relationships and are always willing to return the favor when they may be in need of help,” Veit said.

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