Crews cut through fence to extinguish fire over holiday weekend

by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: ROBIN JOHNSON - Bark fires are somewhat common throughout the summer season, said Cheryl Engstrom, spokeswoman with the Scappoose Fire District. But the fire at Beaver Bark went unnoticed for longer than usual, growing in size and destroying expensive equipment.A fire at a local bark mulch and wood bi-products manufacturer over the Labor Day holiday quickly spread, resulting in damaged equipment at the plant.

Scappoose Rural Fire District responded to a fire at Beaver Bark in Scappoose Sunday, Sept. 1, at 7:29 p.m.

The fire began as a bark-dust fire, but gradually engulfed some of the business’ equipment, said Cheryl Engstrom, spokeswoman with the Scappoose Fire District.

The fire occurred on a hemlock wood-chip storage pile 200 feet long and 30 feet high, then spread to smaller bark piles to the south of the original fire, Engstrom said.

Firefighters were forced to cut through the locked gated to access the fire, which had destroyed a piece of rock and dirt separating equipment valued at $150,000.

Fire crews first extinguished the burning equipment, then began putting out the bark fires.

“Since there was no fire hydrant, crews had to use water tender shuttles,” Engstrom said. “That means a lot of going back and forth.”

Soon after fire crews began their work, Engstrom said, the owners of the business arrived and used heavy equipment to break up the bark piles.

Owners of Beaver Bark did not respond to calls for comment.

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