No jobs lost in Plum Creek blast


No jobs lost in Plum Creek blast

KALISPELL, Mont. - The Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) facility at the Plum Creek plant in Columbia Falls remained closed on Wednesday. Investigators are trying to figure out what caused explosions and a fire Tuesday afternoon.

The company employs 180 workers in the affected area. No one will lose their job.

"Everyone is involved in the cleanup and restoration of the plant, so at this time everyone is still fully employed, which is great news," said Tom Ray, Vice President for Northwest Resources and Manufacturing at the plant.

Ray said there was a flareup early Wednesday morning when fire traveled down a conveyor belt into another portion of the plant. Night watchmen called firefighters and they quickly knocked it down.

During the explosion and fire there were 68 people in the facility and all got out safely.

"The employees at the MDF facility adhere to a safety plan that includes training for evacuations in case of emergencies like this fire, and all of the procedures were followed," said Plum Creek Communications Director Kate Tate.

Sheets of metal and insulation could be seen hanging outside the structure, but Ray says the damage is cosmetic. He hopes the facility will be up and running in a few weeks.

"Right now, just initially after looking at the damage within the plant, we're hoping that within the next 30 days that we can begin to restart the operations," said Ray.

Representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were on scene Thursday to investigate the incident.

More Stories