Flame shoots from the Grain Craft flour mill in Pendleton on the morning of Aug. 10, 2022.
Flame shoots from the Grain Craft flour mill in Pendleton on the morning of Aug. 10, 2022. Grain Processing Mill
PENDLETON — Fire erupted early Aug. 10 at the Grain Craft flour mill in Pendleton. By midmorning, first responders were waiting for the possible collapse of the structure.
Pendleton Assistant Fire Chief Tony Pierotti said this blaze kicked off at about 4:30 a.m., and all signs point to the massive structure as a total loss. Silos were at full capacity of finished grain, so the fire fuel load was extreme.
Fighting the flames took the combined effort of the Pendleton Fire Department, Umatilla Tribal Fire Department, Umatilla County Fire District No. 1 and more.
Buildings at the mill began to collapse around 9:30 a.m. Pendleton fire was not sending in people because the risk of collapse was too high.
The fire burned for weeks inside, sometimes flaring up to the point firefighters again had to douse flames.
Pendleton Fire Chief Jim Critchley in a statement Oct. 5 reported the Oregon State Fire Marshal completed its investigation of the blaze and classified the fire as “undetermined … accidental in nature."
During the past eight weeks, Critchley continued, "the Pendleton Fire Department has been aware of the impact this fire has had on the community, and we are sorry we have not been able to extinguish the smoldering."
The fire department has been in contact with the Environmental Protection Agency and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and with Grain Craft, owner of the mill, about the plans going forward.
Demolition of the burned-out flour mill began in earnest the morning of Dec. 13 as crews from NorthStar Demolition and Remediation Inc. started to take down the building.
“The whole thing is going to take a couple of weeks,” Lou Hannemann, senior operations officer with NorthStar, and site manager for the flour mill demolition explained.
The city of Pendleton announced the closure of Southwest Emigrant Avenue between Fourth and Sixth streets from Dec. 12 to Jan. 2 due to the demolition.
As part of the structure dismantling, NorthStar is using a specialty concrete demolition crane with a set of hydraulic-powered pincers to “pinch” the concrete and dump it into ready-positioned dumpsters below.
Operation of such a device requires two large cranes, Hannemann explained — one conducts the demolition while the other supports it by holding up long hydraulic cables that provide power for the demolition.
“The pincher turns the concrete to gravel and then keeps pinching,” Hannemann said.
Critchley said the city and NorthStar demolition have cooperated to ensure the building could be brought down safely and without presenting a danger to residents.
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PENDLETON — Fire erupted early Wednesday morning, Aug. 10, at Grain Craft flour mill in Pendleton. By midmorning, first responders were waitin…
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