Fire damages Energex wood pellet manufacturing plant

PORT ROYAL – The cause of Saturday’s fire inside the Energex American Inc. wood pellet manufacturing plant could be electrical in nature, Friendship Fire Co. Chief Duane Hart told The Sentinel on Sunday night.

Hart said the four-alarm fire broke out around 9:30 a.m. at the facility, and a subsequent dust explosion inside a warehouse used for wood pellet storage became an additional concern for emergency responders.

Fire companies from Juniata, Mifflin, Perry and Franklin counties responded, with about 75 to 85 fire fighters working at the scene. Hart said their assets also included 12 tankers, eight engines, an aerial unit and three ladder trucks.

The fire took about six hours to extinguish, and one firefighter from another county was taken to a nearby hospital to be checked out, Hart said.

The full extent of damage to the facility is not yet known, but Hart said 10 trailers full of sawdust were destroyed and one elevator was left unusable. The chief said he did not know what impact this would have on the facility’s overall operation. Attempts to reach a representative from Energex for comment Sunday night were unsuccessful.