Workers safe after explosions, fire rock
Montana wood-products plant
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[June 11, 2014]
(Reuters) - Explosions and a fire
engulfed a Montana wood-products plant owned by Plum Creek Timber Co on
Tuesday but all workers were accounted for and no injuries were
reported, an emergency official said.
Dozens of fire crews were battling flames at the facility in the
northwest Montana community of Columbia Falls several hours after
the blaze broke out between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. (2100 GMT and 2200
GMT), said Cindy Mullaney, deputy director of the Flathead County
Office of Emergency Services.
Sixty workers were safely evacuated from the plant, she said. The
facility, owned by the Seattle-based timber giant, produces
medium-density fiberboard used for shelving, cabinetry and paneling,
according to the company's website.
It was not known what caused the explosions and flames and how
extensively the complex in Columbia Falls was damaged, said
"We're still dealing with the fire situation at this point," she
said Tuesday evening.
Plum Creek officials did not immediately respond to requests for
The plant uses such chemical agents as resins and formaldehyde at
high heat to form its engineered wood products, according to an
air-pollution permit issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection
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The company is one of the largest private landowners in the nation,
managing roughly 6.8 million acres (2.75 million hectares) of
forested lands in 19 states, its website says.
(Reporting by Laura Zuckermanin Salmon, Idaho; Editing by Eric M.
Johnson and Robert Birsel)
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