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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Barilla Fire Causes Minimal Damage

Ames fire officials said a minor fire inside the machinery at the Barilla plant in Ames Tuesday caused only a few thousand dollars worth of damage, but took hours to locate and extinguish.

Deputy Chief Paul Sandoval said the fire at the plant caused an estimated $5,000 in damage, but crews were still at the plant trying to get to and extinguish embers and hot spots five hours after the initial call.

The Ames Fire Department received a call from the plant at 3311 E. Lincoln Way at 4:19 p.m. Tuesday. The caller reported smoke inside a “bucket elevator” inside the mill of the factory.

Sandoval said the bucket elevator takes wheat byproducts up into a silo.

As firefighters tried to get at the source of the smoke, they ended up having to run the elevator, dumping the byproduct on the ground and spraying it with water.

The elevator itself also was dismantled in places to gain access to the fire, and the silo itself was emptied as a precaution.

Sandoval said fire officials worked with Barilla people to operate the machines and track down the source of the smoke.

The building was initially evacuated, Sandoval said, but workers were allowed to return to the building shortly after firefighters arrived.

Sandoval said the cause of the fire isn’t yet known. No injuries were reported.

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