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After an extensive investigation of a fire that destroyed the Pacific Coast Seafood plant in Warrenton, Ore., last month, the cause of the blaze and its origination has been determined.
The Daily Astorian reported that federal and state officials have released their findings of a month-long investigation. The investigation was conducted jointly by insurance investigators from Case Forensics, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Oregon State Police, the Clatsop County Fire Investigation Team and the State Fire Marshal. They determined that maintenance conducted on the roof of the building, work that employed a propane torch, ignited an in-between layer of roofing that burned undetected by a fire alarm system for a prolonged period of time. Tim Demers, fire chief of the Warrenton Fire Department, said that it probably burned for a significant amount of time.
On June 4, seven fire departments from neighboring counties responded to the Pacific Coast Seafood plant after the fire was reported at 10:40 a.m. Located on Northeast Skipanon Drive, the plant employed more than 100 temporary employees and more than 130 employees were impacted by the fire that completely destroyed the processing facility. Flames shooting 150 feet in the air were reported by witnesses on the scene. All of the employees present at the facility were evacuated safely without any injuries.
However, due to the size and intensity of the fire, firefighters didn't have much of a chance to combat or contain the fire, according to The Daily Astorian.
"With the fire investigation behind us, we are reflecting on what we've accomplished in the past month and looking to the future," said Frank Dulcich, CEO of Pacific Coast Seafood, said in a statement. "Despite the loss of the Warrenton facility, we have had zero disruption in our supply thanks to the tireless work and dedication from our team members, our fisherman and the community. Not only will we rebuild, but we will also expand to provide even more service to our customers and jobs for our community."
Dulcich added that, once final estimates of the damage are calculated, they will begin plans to build a state-of-the-art facility with intentions of providing even more jobs in the future. An updated fire alarm system could protect the new facility from similar incidents in the future.
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