Equipment causes North Dakota plant fire

By Kris Bevill | September 16, 2008
Web exclusive posted Sept. 17, 2008 at 11:29 a.m. CST

The North Dakota Fire Marshal's office has completed its investigation into the cause of an August fire at the All-American Biodiesel production facility in York, N.D.

The fire, which was discovered in the overnight hours of Aug. 25, destroyed one of four All-American buildings that housed the plant. A local voluntary fire department extinguished the blaze after some difficulty due to chemicals that were in the building. (See for more details.)

Deputies completed the state's investigation Sept. 9 and ruled the cause of the fire was accidental. A piece of equipment is believed to be the source of the fire, however, destruction of the equipment was so great that it was difficult for investigators to ascertain. The fire marshal investigation is now closed but insurance companies may continue a more in-depth investigation into the source of the fire.

A spokesman for the fire marshal's office said the state's investigation focused on determining what the local fire department witnessed upon arrival at the scene, the actions taken to extinguish the fire, and determining the origin of the fire and the ignition source. In this instance, the local voluntary fire department "didn't know a whole lot" and couldn't provide many details for the state's investigation.

The state's initial investigation was delayed due to hydrochloric acid vapors in the air at the site. State fire marshals don't have the necessary equipment to conduct investigations in such health hazards so investigators had to wait for the company to neutralize the vapors before they could enter the area.
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