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Video: Helicopter called to fight Wash. paper mill fire

Several FDs responded to a fire involving a large woodchip pile at a Longview paper mill


Longview Fire Department/Facebook

By Nick Gibson

LONGVIEW, Wash. — Fire crews are continuing to battle a large fire at a commercial site in Longview, Washington, that started Tuesday afternoon and spewed smoke across Clark County and eastern portions of the Portland metro area.

Longview Fire Marshal John Durham said the fire currently is contained to a large pile of woodchips used to create pulp and paper products at Nippon Dynawave Packaging at 1701 Industrial Way. The papermill previously belonged to the Weyerhaeuser Company, before the timber giant sold the facility in 2016.

The Longview Fire Department first responded to reports of a blaze at the paper mill around 6:40 p.m. It battled the blaze throughout the night with assistance from the Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue and Cowlitz County Fire Districts 3, 5 and 6, Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue and the Washington state Department of Natural Resources.

All of the papermill employees were accounted for last night and there have been no reported injuries to firefighting crews, Durham said.

Durham said he could not give an estimate on the size of the fire, but noted that the pile of woodchips was large enough to fill 100 semi-trucks.

‘It’s taken a lot of resources, especially initially,” Durham said. “It’s sizeable.”

Durham said around 20 firefighters and five firefighting apparatuses are currently on site, down from about 45 firefighters and 8 apparatuses that battled the blaze overnight. A helicopter that can drop more than 2,500 gallons of water at a time is aiding firefighters.

Firefighting efforts could continue into Wednesday night given the size of the blaze, Durham said. He said the cause of the fire is not yet known.

“We’re gonna be here for the next several hours continuing the efforts here, and the investigation part won’t begin until this phase is done,” Durham said. “It could be into tomorrow before we even have a chance to get in there and start looking.”

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