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Building in Grass Valley ignites, town briefly evacuated from threat of chemical explosion

COURTESY PHOTO: SHERMAN COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE - A Gresham hazmat team was sent to help safely douse a hemp plant fire in Grass Valley. A Gresham Fire hazmat team was sent to help clean up the smoldering remains of a hemp plant in Grass Valley that was engulfed in flames Sunday, Nov. 20, leading to evacuations and five burned employees.

The building caught fire Sunday afternoon, and due to the threat of a potential explosion from combustible chemicals, the town was evacuated. The building burned for hours and was fully engulfed in flames, while several small explosions were reported throughout the night.

By Monday morning the fire had died down. The Oregon State Fire Marshal, DEQ, and hazmat teams from Gresham and Umatilla responded to the plant to help clear the building of dangerous chemicals and determine the cause of the fire.

During the evacuation, residents stayed at an overnight shelter at Sherman High School set up by the American Red Cross.

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