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Dec-05-2009 17:51printcomments

Crews Battle the Cold to Save Canby's Willamette Nursery From Fire (PHOTOS)

The structure suffered significant damage to 1/2 the building.

Fire at Canby Nursery in Oregon
Photos courtesy: Troy Buzalsky/Canby Fire

(CANBY, Ore.) - Canby Fire units were dispatched to two overlapping reported structure fires this morning at 5;00 a.m. Fire Department Spokesman Troy Buzalsky, says the first was reported as a residential fire at 1526 NE 19th Loop.

The second, just four minutes later, was reported as a commercial fire located at 25571 S. Barlow Road.

"When crews arrived to the initial dispatched address they quickly determined that there was no fire, just a furnace malfunction, so all available crews were re-directed to the commercial fire."

He says at 5:09 a.m., Canby Fire arrived at the Barlow Road address and reported flames venting through the roof and walls of Willamette Nursery.

"Additional resources were summons and crews quickly started to deploy hand-lines and worked to gain access to the 10,000 square foot warehouse and cold storage facility."

Buzalsky says firefighters from Canby, Clackamas, Aurora, Monitor, and Molalla worked for more than two hours to suppress the hard to access fire.

Fire at the Canby Nursery, Photos by Troy Buzalsky/Canby Fire

"Crews also battled the bitter cold, and were challenged with a working fire in an area where there were no fire hydrants. Ultimately four water tenders shuttled water into the scene to support the firefighting efforts."

The structure suffered significant damage to 1/2 the building according to Buzalsky.

"However, firefighters were able to stop the fires spread before it consumed the buildings cold storage cooler and its contents, which were valued at more than $1,000,000.00. Fire damages to the building and contents are expected to reach $500,000.00."

Buzalsky says the day prior to the fire, the business owner stained 5,000 square feet of cedar boards, which were being dried in the warehouse. He says investigators have not ruled out spontaneous ignition of oil soaked rags as a possible fire cause, however, an official fire cause has not yet been determined.

Buzalsky said, "Every year many fires start from the phenomenon known as 'Spontaneous Ignition' which occurs when an internal exothermic (heat producing) chemical reaction generates enough heat to cause the material to combust. Substances that have been known to self-heat to temperatures sufficient for spontaneous combustion include linseed soaked oil rags, moist hay, compost, and even wet charcoal. Extreme care should always be used when staining or wiping down wood with oil soaked rags."

He says after use, rags should be rinsed and laid flat to dry on a non-combustible surface. Rags should never be piled or discarded in a combustible container or on a combustible surface.

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