Alternative Energy Plant Destroyed in Fire

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plant fire protectionMontana -- An experimental alternative energy plant in Montana was destroyed early Saturday morning after a fire swept through it.

Fire crews were called to the scene.  "About half the building was burning when we arrived.  There was no way we could do an interior attack, so it was a defensive effort with firefighters using hoses outside," said Columbia Fire Chief Rick Hagen.

The fire caused over $1 million in damages and only about 25% of the plant was saved.

The plant was swimming in fire hazards.  Highly flammable polyurethane insulation panels were used throughout.  Also, the attached lab building had a stick frame.

Hagen believes that the fire began in the lab.  The lab is where charcoal is produced as part of the experimental alternative energy project.  He believes that the charcoal was placed in a plastic tote and reignited.

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