UPDATE: North Okanagan pellet plant fire under investigation

Early morning incident, no reported injuries

Some Lavington residents were awoken to a bang Monday morning.

An explosion shook the community’s industrial area May 11. The incident was sparked at the Pinnacle pellet plant shortly before 3 a.m.

“Loudest bang ever,” said nearby neighbour Stephanie Hoffman. “Our kids are all awake asking what happened too.”

Lavington Fire Chief Marty Wright also lives next to the plant and was stirred awake by the incident. It was followed shortly by the tone of his pager going off at 2:45 a.m.

Crews arrived to a fire at the plant, which they quickly doused.

No one was injured in the blaze, where there was a small crew working at the plant, which runs 24/7.

blackpress.tv

Pinnacle Renewable Energy says the pellet plant experienced a process upset that resulted in a fire in one of the two dryer systems.

“Based on an initial assessment, the damage does not appear to be major,” said Scott Bax, Pinnacle’s chief operating officer. “The plant manager, Jamie Colliss, expresses his thanks to the first response personnel who came to the site to support our team. WorkSafeBC and relevant authorities have been notified and a preliminary investigation is underway to determine the contributing factors to the incident.”

Wright says the fire spread to the outbuildings, where the internal fire suppression system helped extinguish the blaze.

This isn’t the first fire at the plant, which was opened five years ago next to the Tolko mill.

“They’ve had a couple incidents here and there,” said Wright.

READ MORE: North Okanagan teen missing

READ MORE: Pinnacle opens pellet plant in Lavington


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

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