Energex recovers quickly after fire

By Chris Hanson | April 04, 2014

After experiencing a fire in its Mifflintown, Pa., office and dry receiving facilities on March 29, Energex Pellet Fuel Inc.’s operation was back in full swing within two days.  

By the morning of Monday March 31, the office staff was relocated into temporary offices and the plant was back in production by the end of the day. “All this did was take out our dry sawdust feed system,” said Bruce Lisle, president of Energex. “So on Monday morning, we started up the dryer, and we made 362 tons of pellets on Monday.”

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined but the initial area where the fire began has been isolated. “It looks like it started in old wiring within the attic of the older office facility,” Lisle explained.

It appeared that a spark from the office building landed in the adjacent dry receiving shed, igniting a dust explosion. “The issue was really non-production related. The major damage was towards the front of the old section. On the newer part, we just need to put a new roof on, and we will be replacing the dry receiving building,” Lisle said.

Quick response from both employees and the fire department helped contain the blaze and prevented it from spreading to other major sections of the plant. “The incident started about 9 a.m. Saturday morning, and only our production crews were there,” Lisle said. The crew realized a problem was occurring when the incident spread to the dry receiving building, at which point the crew called the fire department and hosed down the area between the building and the production area, which kept the fire from reaching the production sections. The fire department was on scene within 10 minutes, Lisle said.