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Crews respond to pellet plant fire

ELKINS — A fire at a plant that manufactures fuel pellets brought multiple emergency responders to the Industrial Park Sunday evening.

Emergency crews responded to a call late Sunday night of a possible explosion and fire toward the south end of the Industrial Park in Elkins.

The incident occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m. at the Hamer Pellet mill on 15th Street. When emergency crews arrived on the scene, officials determined that the fire was electrical by nature.

“It was an electrical issue and apparently there was a short somewhere in the system,” said Elkins Fire Department Chief Tom Meader. “It blew one of the ground transformers and burnt some wires.

“They lost power to one whole side of the plant because of it,” Meader said. “I don’t know what caused it, but we called the power company and once they got there we left.”

Meader said the only fire that occurred at the plant involved the coating on the wires, which extinguished itself. He said a nightwatchman reported an explosion at the time of the incident.

The Beverly Fire Department, Elkins Police Department, West Virginia State Police and Randolph County Emergency Squad also responded to the call, Meader said.

Hamer Pellet Fuel is the oldest residential pellet manufacturer in the eastern United States. The Elkins plant has a production capacity of 60,000 tons per year. The pellets are made from Appalachian Oak hardwood sawdust.

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