N.H. Firefighters Again Called to Wood Pellet Plant


For the second time in less than a week, firefighters were called to a wood pellet plant in Barnstead when smoke and fire were reported.

Fire officials said they believe the fire they fought on Thursday at 27 Depot Street may have sparked the new fire, reported at about 10:25 a.m. Tuesday.

Eight fire departments from as far away as Farmington were called to the scene of the fire as a precaution.

"I don't know it was a re-flareup, but that would be our best guess anyway," said Chief Mark Tetreault.

Crews were able to bring the fire inside a production hopper under control within about an hour.

"We were able to get in, and this time, we were able to empty the hopper onto the ground and just extinguish the fire pretty quickly," Tetreault said.

Thursday's fire in a different hopper was much more difficult to extinguish, with crews working for more than 4 1/2 hours.

"It's a hazard of the manufacturing process, and every so often, there will be a hot ember that goes through there," Tetreault said. "And there's supposed to be a system to put those embers out, and that system wasn't up and running yet, as far as I know."

The state Fire Marshal's Office has been called in to determine the cause. After the first fire, the fire marshal recommended that an outside engineer be brought in before the plant reopens to evaluate the plant's manufacturing process.

Fire officials said it could be weeks before the plant is back in service.

The owner of the plant told News 9 that he believes the fire was a continuation of Thursday's fire. He said his company, Great Northern Pellets LLC, has been having issues with the dryer at the plant.

The owner said the fires have cost the company about $60,000.

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