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Fire causes brief evacuation at Milwaukie manufacturing company

Bin of metal shavings apparently caught fire

More than 1,000 Blount International employees were briefly evacuated Thursday afternoon after a fire broke out at the company's saw-chain manufacturing facility on International Way in Milwaukie.

Lt. Tony Cordie of Clackamas Fire said the department was alerted about 3:30 p.m. after a storage bin of metal shavings caught fire and set off a company alarm. There was a lot of smoke inside the building, Cordie said, and fire dispatch confirmed there was an actual fire.

Company officials decided to evacuate the corporate offices and manufacturing facility for safety reasons, said Blount spokesman David Dugan.

'It was very quickly resolved, and everybody returned to work,' Dugan said, adding that the entire incident lasted between 15 and 20 minutes.

'The fire department did a terrific job,' Dugan said.

He said about 200 administrative employees work in the Milwaukie corporate offices and that more than 1,000 employees work on the manufacturing side.

Blount, which began in Alabama in 1946, bought Portland-based Omark Industries in 1985 and is now a global company with manufacturing facilities in more than 110 countries. Blount is the world's largest producer of saw chain and also manufactures saw-chain guidebars and other items used on chainsaws.