Fire at Willow Springs Feed Mill
Wed, 10/14/2020 - 1:03pm admin
The Willow Springs Fire Department responded to a report of a structure fire at Grow Smart, formerly Wake Feed, on US Business 60/63 on October 8. The fire broke out 40 feet off the ground in the leg of pellet mill that lifts feed with a mechanical elevator. According to Assistant Fire Chief Vance Farmer, the drive belt on the elevator broke and jammed. Gears continued to turn, which caught the belt on fire inside the tower. From the outside, flames were not visible at all. The fire was contained entirely to the inside of the mill.
To extinguish the blaze, firefighters threaded an empty hose up a ladder to the top of the mill and flushed water down through the opening inside. Nick Tooley of the WSFD manned the hose from a vantage 100 feet from the ground. Two other firefighters were stationed along the length of the hose to manage the weight of the water.
Asst. Chief Farmer said the fire was out in ten minutes.
“It was a simple fire for us,” he said, “but a major [disaster] for the business.”
Jessica Brown, Vice President of Grow Smart, confirmed to Howell County News that the fire affected a leg of their pellet mill, but agreed with the firefighters that the damage was contained to a single area.
Retail customers should not experience an interruption in service, Brown said. Grow Smart has “measures in place to keep production going.”
At the time of the interview, Vice President Brown did not have an expected timeline for completion of repairs.
Because the call came in as a structure fire, Mountain View, Eleven Point, and Pomona Fire Departments were automatically toned to respond. Asst. Chief Farmer cancelled the call for Mountain View and Pomona, but Eleven Point Rural Fire Department proceeded to the scene to assist.
by Amanda Mendez, publisher