Explosion, fire at pellet plant in B.C.’s North Okanagan

Neighbours were jolted awake early Monday morning at the sound of an explosion and fire at an industrial plant in the North Okanagan.

Stephanie Hoffman snapped photos of the dramatic scene showing flames and heavy, dark smoke billowing into the air at Pinnacle’s pellet plant in Lavington, B.C.

Scott Bax, chief operating officer with Pinnacle Renewable Energy, said the blaze broke out in a dryer system at approximately 3 a.m.

“There were no injuries and the scene is safe. Based on an initial assessment, the damage does not appear to be major,” Bax said in an email to Global News.

Members from the Coldstream and Lavington fire departments responded to the scene. Fire chief Marty Wright says the plant’s own suppression system activated and the fire was isolated to a fan stack.

WorkSafeBC and relevant authorities have been notified and a preliminary investigation is underway, the company said.

The $47-million wood pellet production plant, which opened in 2015, uses sawmill residuals from within the Thompson-Okanagan region to make green, renewable pellet fuel.

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