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Electrical fire shuts four plants at Bright Wood

Three plants back up Saturday
A costly early morning fire temporarily shut down four plants at Bright Wood in the Madras Industrial Site on June 17.
   According to Tom Jaca, fire marshal for Jefferson County Fire District No. 1, the fire was reported at 5:10 a.m. as a transformer fire in Plant 5, on Northwest Hess Street.
   A new shift of workers had already arrived at the moulding plant when the alarm went off.
   "It turned out to be an electrical fire," said Jaca. "We responded with an engine and our truck, with nine firefighters. We were on scene in about nine minutes."
   "On arrival, there was arcing that could be seen from the east door, and some fire which appeared to be coming from a transformer inside the building," he said.
   "People had just come in to work and they had started equipment up," he said, "but by the time we got there the plant had been evacuated."
   As the crew attacked the fire, the overhead sprinkler system activated and helped knock down the fire.
   "The damage was primarily to the electrical panel -- the main electrical breaker panel supplying Plant 5, but it ended up taking out a main transformer, located outside, that supplied power to four different plants, including Plant 5," said Jaca. "So they lost production for those plants for that day."
   By Saturday morning, Pacific Power had made the repairs on the transformer and Bright Wood was able to get three of the four plants back up and running. However, as of Monday, Plant 5 was still undergoing repairs.
   The cost estimate for damage to the electrical components was about $260,000, Jaca said. "That is not labor or production."
   The loss to the facility itself was minimal, he said, noting that some insulation on the ceiling of Plant 5 was damaged. Firefighters were on the scene for about two and one-half hours.
   The specific cause of the fire is still under investigation, Jaca said.