Fire damages Kremmling pellet plant |

Fire damages Kremmling pellet plant

Grand County, Colorado

Confluence Energy’s wood pellet plant in Kremmling had a fire scare Saturday morning, Oct. 25.

The plant’s sprinkler system kicked in quickly, however, and when the Kremmling Fire Department responded the fire was already almost contained, said Kremmling Fire Chief Tony Tucker.

“It got hot enough to burn insulation on the roof itself,” he said. “The sprinkler system definitely saved the day. It would have been a lot worse.”

Tucker said the fire was contained to the plant’s internal equipment, and “not very big.”

“You can’t see any physical damage from the exterior,” Tucker said, adding that there was minimal damage. “It looks just like it did from a week ago.”

No one was reported injured in the blaze.

The fire started in the plant’s dryer area, one of the first phases where the product is dried. It resembles a giant wood stove.

“Something went wrong with the dryer,” Tucker said. “(The fire) looked pretty bad when we were en route.”

Big Shooter Coffee owners Shawn and Stephenie Scholl were on their way to work around 7 a.m. when they noticed the smoke from the fire and called 9-1-1 to report it, although Dispatch had already been notified.

Stephenie described it as a “brown glow” enveloping Kremmling.

“It was like a mushroom (cloud) came out of the smoke stack,” she said.

The Scholls knew the plant was supposed to create steam.

“Shawn’s like, ‘that’s not steam. I think the whole thing’s on fire,’ ” she recalled.

In the early morning Kremmling resembled a ghost town, but when more people became aware of what had happened at Confluence Energy they were concerned.

“It’s going to be a big employer for people in Kremmling,” she said.

There was a lot of smoke, followed by a good deal of steam caused by the sprinkler system, Tucker said.

The department had to extinguish the fire, reduce heat and cool the equipment.

“We really didn’t do much,” he said.

Eight personnel from the Kremmling Fire Department responded, along with 17 firefighters from the Granby Fire Department and Hot Sulphur Springs Partial Fire Protection District.

Once the sprinkler system was reactivated, Confluence Energy hoped to start production to assess the damage.

Colorado’s first pellet plant started manufacturing Eco-Flame Pellets in August.

” Katie Looby covers government and education for the Sky-Hi Daily News. You may reach her at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or

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