Explosion at Pacific BioEnergy’s pellet plant in Prince George, B.C.
On Friday night an explosion blasted the Pacific BioEnergy wood pellet plant in Prince George, British Columbia.
The blast created numerous spot fires that were fought by 17 firefighters from 3 local fire halls. Damage to the structure was limited by the sprinkler system, but is still reported as being major. No one was injured.
The explosion was possibly a dust explosion, but a thorough investigation is underway. A dust explosion is the fast combustion of dust particles suspended in the air in an enclosed location. A considerable amount of wood fibre debris is currently covering the plant.
The extent of the damage to the facility is also undergoing an investigation. It is not yet known when the plant will be able to resume operation.
Two back-to-back explosions rocked this same pellet plant on March 31, 2008. Those blasts blew open the doors on the bag house, a filtration chamber outside the pellet plant, and another that blew out the main plant’s metal wall, similar to what occurred Friday.
Another fire broke out at the plant in August 2009. Firefighters were called in to extinguish a fire in the hopper and piping. The plant was shut down at the time but firefighters suspected the hopper was still hot and was the source of the fire.
While the plant is non-operational, Pacific BioEnergy reports that they have a large supply of pellets both on-site in Prince George, and at its shipping facility in North Vancouver, so they are able to continue to meet their contracts with European customers. The plant’s 40 employees will continue to report to work.
Explosion At Local Pellet Plant (Opinion 250 News)
Clean Up Underway At Pellet Plant After Blast (Opinion 250 News)
Explosion closes down pellet plant (Opinion 250 News)
Explosion and Blaze at Pacific BioEnergy (HQPrinceGeorge)
Explosion and Fire at Pacific Bioenergy (Opinion 250 News)