Faulty machinery causes fire at Foster Farms in Aurora
A four-alarm fire the night of Nov. 14 at Foster Farms' feed mill on Ehlen Road between Aurora and Donald was caused by machinery overheating.
Aurora Fire District reported to the scene around 8 p.m. and called for a three alarm after seeing the extent of the commercial fire.
"A lot of dust was created in the process, so we were preparing for the worst," said Aurora Lt. Bill Hansen. "When you get a good dust and air mixture and add fire, there's always the worry of explosion. Seeing the smoke with blowers adding oxygen to the fire made for an impressive show, and made us determine we needed to be getting more resources on the road."
Crews arrived from Woodburn, Hubbard, St. Paul, Canby, Mount Angel and Tualatin Valley fire districts.
Woodburn Ambulance was also on scene, though no injuries were reported.
Molalla Fire District also responded to the call by providing a move up fire engine at the Aurora Station.
The call was actually a fourth alarm just for tenders.
"We didn't need fire engines, we just needed more water so we requested tenders only," Hansen said, noting the facility is farther away from a water source.
The fire was determined under control at 9:08 p.m., though crews remained on scene to make sure the fire was completely extinguished and equipment was cleaned up.
All employees made it out safely and no one was injured.
During the investigation, it was determined that a piece of machinery was overheating and caused food product to catch fire. The fire was mainly limited to equipment and ducting, according to Hansen, with minimal damage to the building itself.
Foster Farms wasted no time in rehabbing the equipment so they could be up and running again.
"They were working on it as soon as we allowed them to," Hansen said. "They're looking to replace that entire piece of machinery."
While he didn't have a firm number, he said the cost of the machinery was estimated to be in the ballpark of $1 million.
A statement received Friday from Foster Farms headquarters said, "Production will not be impacted."