Fire breaks out at Sierra Pacific mill in Quincy
|Smoke billows for the co-generation plant at the Sierra Pacific Mill in Quincy.|
May 1, 2013 - Updated 5:00 p.m.
A firefighter was injured during the assault to extinguish a blaze at Sierra Pacific Industry’s mill in Quincy on Wednesday afternoon, May 1.
The firefighter, Kristapher Gunn, of Quincy, suffered broken bones in his ankle after he was blown off a ladder and fell to the ground.
Quincy Fire Chief Robbie Cassou said Gunn was blown off by a water stream from his hose that re-coiled off the building.
Cassou said the fire broke out at approximately 12:30 p.m. Quincy fire arrived on the scene at 12:36 p.m. The blaze was extinguished by 3:30 p.m.
Smoke billowed out in thick brown masses from the co-gen substation where the fire is believed to have started, according to a SPI mill worker.
A couple dozen people congregated at the junction of N. Mill Creek Road and Danny Court where the smoke was clearly visible.
The employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said employees were told to go home for the day at 1 p.m. after the fire broke out in the co-gen substation, which supplies power to the mill.
Power was shut off to Quincy, East Quincy, Meadow Valley and Crescent Mills in order for the substation fire to be put out.
Cassou credited SPI for acting quickly to turn off the power from the co-gen plant.
“I’ve got to give the mill credit,” Cassou said. “They shut down the co-gen immediately.”
The move cut power to half the mill. Cassou said, more importantly, it cut the flow of electricity to the metal building that was on fire.
Fire trucks from Quincy, Meadow Valley, Greenville and Long Valley were called to the site.
The SPI employee, who said he formerly worked at the co-gen facility, said operations could be shut down for up to a couple of weeks, depending on the amount of damage done.
He said if the mill has no power, the electronic scales won’t work, which means logging trucks can’t get weighed, and drivers can’t get paid.
Calls to Sierra Pacific were not answered Wednesday afternoon.
The fire at the mill was one of three fires that burned simultaneously in the Quincy area.
In addition to the four engines that responded to the mill fire, six engines, including the U.S. Forest Service, responded to a mobile home fire in East Quincy at 1:45 p.m.
Firefighters from around the county responded to battle the fires.
Beckwourth fire chief Greg McCaffrey was in the Quincy area when the mobile home fire was reported. He rushed to the scene and became the incident commander for that fire, according to Cassou.
In a third fire, an ATV was destroyed in Quincy. The Forest Service handled that fire.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
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