Local fire crews battled overnight Wednesday against a fire at a Jeld-Wen lumber mill in Klamath Falls.
The structure fire broke out about 8 p.m. Wednesday at Jeld-Wen’s Thomas Lumber at 3922 Lakeport Boulevard. Crews were able to extinguish the fire at around 11 a.m. Thursday morning, Fire Chief Greg Davis said.
Davis said the fire department has been working with Jeld-Wen to determine the cause of the fire and the full extent of the damage. That investigation, by fire marshal Chad Tramp, could take a day or two.
The fire impacted wood drying kilns on the property where cutting and welding work was being done before the fire started.
Davis said at least two of the wood drying kilns at the mill were extensively damaged. A third kiln had significant roof damage and two others nearby had some damage from being exposed to the fire.
The roofs of the two badly damaged kilns have completely caved in, Davis said. It is currently unknown if the others are structurally sound.
“I don’t know how stable those are, and if they will still be able to serve the purpose of what they were designed for.” Davis said. “They will have to get in there and evaluate."
Roughly 25 emergency personnel fought the fire for more than 12 hours, Davis said. He added the fire was fairly active and burning freely all night and into the early morning hours, until firefighters were able to get inside the structure to attack the “seat of the fire.”
No injuries have been reported.
So while fire crews assess the damage, the mill’s 66 workers will have to wait for what comes next.
Those employees are currently unable to return to work because of the damage, said Colleen Penhall, vice president of global corporate communications for Jeld-Wen.
“The facility will remain closed until a third-party structural engineer and the fire department deem it safe to return,” she said.
The company is working to minimize any potential impact to customers as well, she said.
Penhall said the company it will take time before next steps can be finalized.
“We don’t have enough information now to determine what the next steps are, but we are committed to do the right things for our employees,” Penhall said. “We want to make sure they continue to work at Jeld-Wen.”