Wood product plant remains closed after fire - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Wood product plant remains closed after fire

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By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

BROOKS COUNTY, GA (WALB) – A wood panel production plant in Brooks County remains closed Wednesday after a damaging fire.

Fire investigators are still trying to determine what caused the explosion and fire Tuesday night.

A large dryer caught fire. Officials tell us the dryer is fine, but thousands of dollars worth of conveyor belts must be replaced.

The plant is closed for clean up and equipment repairs. Langboard officials spent Tuesday night investigating a fire that started in a dryer. Officials tell us they spent much of the day cleaning up debris and repairing equipment.

The fire started after 8 o'clock Tuesday. Residents say they could hear an explosion from miles away. Crews from several counties were there to help.

"They were thinking it might be all night," said American Red Cross Volunteer and Valdosta Firefighter Chris Feuerstein.

Langboard officials wouldn't go on camera. They did tell us they were heating up the system when the fire started. The machine pulls moisture out of the wood that is used to produce oriented strand board.

About 15 people were working. The supervisors called the fire department. It spread quickly through the dryer up to conveyor belts 40 feet off the ground.

"In situations where there's wood shaving and stuff like that the heat stays in and you can hardly get to it you have to dig it out in order to get water going to it," said Feuerstein. "If you miss a spot it could flare up."

Thankfully no one was hurt. They're still investigating the cause of the fire and believe it could a mechanical failure. The plant reopens Thursday.

Langboard Incorporated produces millions of feet of oriented strand board each day. That wood paneling is used in everything from campers to furniture.

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