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Dryer Fire at Sugar Plant Causes $200K in Damages

March 14, 2018
The American Crystal Sugar processing plant in East Grand Forks, MN. Image courtesy of Google Maps
The American Crystal Sugar processing plant in East Grand Forks, MN. Image courtesy of Google Maps

The American Crystal Sugar processing facility in East Grand Forks, MN sustained $200,000 in damages following a pulp dryer fire on Tuesday afternoon, several local news organizations reported.

About 20 firefighters responded to an “all call” to the plant at 1:45 p.m., Grand Forks, MN-based ABC News affiliate WDAZ reported. Fire officials said in the television station’s report that the cause of the pulp dryer fire is unclear, and noted that the facility suffers similar incidents several times a year.

“They have put procedures in place, so if this starts to happen and they catch it early on, they have internal fire suppression systems that can put it out, without them having to call us up, but it seems when it does get out of hand sometimes; it’s pretty significant when we get called,” East Grand Forks Fire Department Assistant Chief Jeff Anderson told WDAZ.

Flames were contained to the equipment, the fire department said.

Constructed in 1926, American Crystal Sugar’s processing plant in East Grand Forks has a sugar production capacity of 8,300,000 cwt, with an average of 26,000 cwt. produced per day during campaigns, according to information on the company’s website. The plant’s headcount totals 303 year-round and campaign workers.

In 2013, inspectors from Minnesota OSHA found 30 violations of safety laws at the East Grand Forks plant after three workers were burned in a series of incidents that year. The occupational safety regulator proposed $60,000 in fines.

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