It’s been three months since a fire was found in the fuel silos of our cogeneration facility. It ran through the system, burning up multiple conveyors and causing significant damage to our storage facilities. Repairs have not been easy, to say the least.
A vast amount of work has been completed, and though we hoped to be back to full operation at this point, we have a couple more weeks to go. Wellons provided materials to repair our silos, but they were essentially replaced due to concerns that they were structurally damaged by the fire. Performance Systems Integration has designed and begun work on a deluge system to flood the silos in case of a fire to, hopefully, ensure a fire does not happen again — or if it does, at least contain and subdue it before it causes widespread damage.
We have not yet been able to install or commission diverters and conveyors on the top of the silos, which allow us to control the amount of fuel in each of the silos. Catwalks need to be installed to complete electrical work and provide access to the conveyors.
A challenge we’ve experienced is that the existing troughing belt conveyors are difficult to deluge. They have many moving parts that can get hot and start fires, and if they do catch on fire the belts ignite and spread fire through our facilities.
We reached out to BE&E and they were able to expedite delivery of two replacement conveyors that we will use to deliver fuel to our silo. In addition to being a rugged design, they are enclosed conveyors with fewer moving parts; plus they are provided with deluge ports allowing us to fight fires in a more efficient manner. We are excited to see these conveyors in operation once the system is online. Since BE&E expedited delivery, they are a bright blue and hard to miss!
Thanks to our reliable partners Wellons and BE&E for expediting their equipment, which was integral to our repairs, as well as to North Coast Electric, Platt, West Valley Splice, Omega Morgan Contractors, and Motion. Thanks to our contractors including BMI for conveyor installation, Philipi Construction for repairs and installation. Northside Electric has had a crew onsite from the beginning helping with electrical demo, and now installation.
Special thanks to our employees taking part in the operations and repairs. Thanks to our millwrights and electricians who have been pitching in wherever required to keep the plant going and to make progress on the repairs. Thanks to our fuel handlers who have been feeding the plant bucket-by-bucket so that the facility could operate and, in turn, provide heat to our veneer plants and veneer drying facility to keep everyone working. We know that this has been disruptive, but we can see the end in sight.
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