Aug. 11--A stubborn two-alarm fire that burned for more than 21 hours at Clackamas County recycling center was caused by an exploding light bulb, fire officials said Monday.
Brandon Paxton, Clackamas Fire District 1 spokesman, said investigators determined the fire that broke out 4:30 a.m. Saturday at KB Recycling ignited when a sparks from the failing light bulb landed on flammable materials.
"The light bulb burst sparks onto a pile of debris, where it continued to smolder and spread," Paxton said. "At this point, we don't know what caused the light bulb to explode."
Paxton said damage to the recyclable materials at the center, 9602 S.E. Clackamas Road, is estimated at $200,000. He said engineers will be brought in to assess damage to the building.
Fire crews arriving early Saturday found large piles of debris on fire. Faced with difficult access and a building filling with toxic fumes, firefighters called a second alarm to bring additional crews. Paxton said firefighters were forced to use heavy equipment to remove loads of burning materials and then wet them down.
"The crews soaked everything," Paxton said. "But every time we pulled back some of the material to see if we had it out, the fire would get more oxygen and then spread. It was a very difficult fire to fight."
The blaze was extinguished by about 2 a.m. Sunday.
The fire spewed smoke that drifted over Interstate 205 and Oregon 212, and fire officials had advised people with respiratory conditions to stay indoors.
-- Rick Bella
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