Sponsored By

Pellet Plant Fire, Explosion in British Columbia Investigated

May 18, 2016

2 Min Read
Pellet Plant Fire, Explosion in British Columbia Investigated

WorkSafeBC is investigating an explosion that occurred Monday at a Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. pellet plant in Houston, BC, multiple news outlets reported.

A separate fire occurred at the facility on Saturday in a system used to produce pellets, according to the Prince George [BC] Citizen. A smolder from the fire blew into a nearby silo, which created a deflagration risk as fire crews labored to move fiber out of the section.

“We planned for that as a worst-case outcome with where we positioned people and where we managed the situation, and unfortunately, yesterday while we were doing that, we did have a deflagration that took off the roof of the silo,” Pinnacle’s chief operating officer Leroy Reitsma told the Citizen.

The cause of the explosion is unclear, media reports said, and no one was hurt in either incident. Houston [BC] Fire Chief Jim Daigneault told CFTK-TV that the explosion was "fairly violent": 

"The roof was bolted on and the bolt holes were all stretched, pulled apart, and there was a couple of vent pipes that were blown off, and they landed probably a couple hundred feet away from the silo itself," said Daigneault.

Pinnacle's COO maintains that the deflagration on Monday was not a direct result of the fire on Saturday.

“It [the deflagration] was not part of the original incident, but something that had occurred sort of as a fall down effect of it,” Reitsma said in the Citizen.

On Monday, when the explosion happened, the plant was still shut down as a result of the Saturday fire. The facility continues to be shut down while WorkSafeBC and other investigators examine the scene, the Citizen reported.

Reitsma called the explosion “quite a unique thing,” and said that although process fires had occurred at the plant previously, “the system is designed to recognize and address them,” the paper reported.

A WorkSafeBC spokesman told the Citizen that it is unclear if compliance orders or other regulatory measures will be taken.

“At this time, we are not contemplating an investigation, but that could change depending on what the officer finds,” said Scott McCloy, a WorkSafeBC spokesman. 

Sign up for the Powder & Bulk Solids Weekly newsletter.

You May Also Like