Minor fire at Panel Processing

ALPENA – Alpena Fire Department responded to a fire alarm activation from Panel Processing Inc. on Industrial Hwy. at 4:50 a.m. Friday morning. When crews arrived, they observed a small area of sawdust smoldering at the rear of the plant under an overhang outside below the dust collection area. The only heat source in the area was an exhaust vent for an interior ceiling heat unit, which was operating at the time of the fire, and was likely the source of ignition.

“It was a very minor fire in some sawdust that didn’t effect the building or operations at the plant,” Capt. John Morrow said. “The building was already closed for the long weekend.”

The heat buildup from the fire caused a sprinkler head under the overhang to rupture, extinguishing most of the fire. The rest of the smoldering sawdust was wet down by fire fighters with a fire truck hose line.

“They have their own fire alarm system, and everything worked fine,” Morrow said. “No one was injured.”

Plant officials restored water to the sprinkler system when the fire operations were completed, and were pleased to learn from crews that the extinguishing system worked exactly as designed.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at ngrulke@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.