September 8, 2022 03:30

Officials from Roseburg Forest Products, operators of the veneer plant at the center of the plant fire in Weed, Calif., are investigating whether the possible failure of a water spray machine from a third-party equipment manufacturer led to the ignition of the September 2nd structure fire.

Director of Corporate Communications Rebecca Taylor said Roseburg generates its own electricity in a cogeneration facility fueled by leftover wood. Taylor said the generator ejects ash after consuming the wood. This ash is pulverized with cooling water, using a machine supplied by a third party. Roseburg investigates whether this machine failed to cool the ashes sufficiently, which started the fire.

Taylor said while the origin of the fire remains to be determined, Roseburg plans to proactively provide up to $50 million for a community restoration fund for the initial recovery needs of affected residents. The fund will help residents with temporary shelter, medical supplies and treatment, transportation, clothing, food and water, and child/day care services.

RFP spokesman Pete Hillan said: “We know the fire has been devastating to Weed, and we are particularly saddened by the loss of life.” Hillan said: “It has had a severe impact on our beloved neighbors and on us, with three members of our team among those who lost their homes.” Roseburg team members will be offered advice and other support services by the company.

Roseburg organized a team to help restore the community and find what started the fire. To lead its response to the fire and help the community, Roseburg hired the attorney who represented the interests of the 70,000 fire victims in the PG&E bankruptcy, San Francisco attorney Robert Julian, and his firm, Baker Hostetler.

The full statement on the company’s response to the factory fire is linked: