One Hurt in ND Potato Plant Fire

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 @ 10:04 AM gHale

One firefighter suffered an injury Thursday morning when crews responded to an equipment fire at J.R. Simplot Co. in Grand Forks, ND.

“Crews were able to extinguish it rather quickly,” said Captain Darren Schimke.

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“In the process of that there was a minor explosion. No injuries were caused from that explosion. Some of the fire did spread a little bit to some pallets and things that were stacked nearby but that was quickly extinguished. We did have an individual firefighter who had taken a fall, stumbled on some debris, so he fell forward but minor, minor injuries. Checked out just fine and will be reporting for duty tomorrow.”

Five fire engines remained on the scene Thursday as crews continued to remove debris. According to the Grand Forks Fire Department, crews got the call at 6 a.m. for reports of a roof fire but were told on arrival that an equipment item was the source of the blaze.

Grand Forks Fire Capt. Delray Huot said the firefighter, who was not identified, ended up transported to Altru Hospital and later released with non-life-threatening injuries.

Huot downplayed the size of an “explosion” describing damage at Simplot as contained.
“It wasn’t super big,” Huot said. “It was basically the machine itself ruptured.”

The J.R. Simplot Grand Forks facility is a potato processing plant.

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