US Agriculture Takes Devastating Blow - Mysterious Fire Destroys Grain That Would Have Fed Americans
Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.
An old mill belonging to Grain Craft in Pendleton, Oregon, was destroyed recently due to a fire that broke out at the facility.
Grain Craft is the third-largest flour miller in the country and employs 22 people, according to the East Oregonian.
Just before 3 p.m. on Aug. 9, authorities received reports that black smoke was emanating from the Pendleton Flour Mills.
The reports indicated that while smoke emerged from the area, there were no visible flames originating from the site, Pendleton City Police Chief Chuck Byram said in a news release from the city.
Firefighters with the Pendleton Fire Department arrived on the scene and extinguished a small fire that had erupted at the mill.
At about 4 a.m. the next day, the fire reignited at the site, police said, with flames fully covering the mill because of the dry grain stored inside and because the structure was made of wood.
The local fire department and eight other agencies responded to the second fire. No injuries were reported.
While the building was destroyed, local officials maintained that the fire was an ongoing emergency situation due to the slow-burning grain.
Tony Pierotti, Pendleton’s assistant fire chief, said silos were at full capacity of finished grain, so the fuel for the fire was extreme.
The causes of the fires were still under investigation.
The Pendleton Flour Mill was a historic structure in the city, dating to 1910 when it had been operated by a company known as Fisher Flour, which sold bagged flour in the Pacific Northwest, the East Oregonian reported.
The structure that burned down in August dated to 1920, according to the newspaper.
“The mills became known for [their] highly successful Power and Mondako brands, plus its dedication to providing personalized customer service and superior products,” East Oregonian’s report said. “These included premium hard and soft wheat flour, and proprietary blends manufactured specifically to meet customers’ needs.”
The mills eventually passed hands to Grain Craft, which has operated the site since 2014.
Ben Maney, president of the Oregon Wheat Growers League, told Oregon Public Broadcasting that there are other grain mills where local farmers can take their crops, but it won’t be quite the same as the century-old Grain Craft mill.
“[Going to] that mill was one of those things that they did every year for 50 years and guys just got accustomed to that. To see it gone now it’s. … I mean, it’s tough,” Maney said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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