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Plum Creek Explosion Rocks Montana Plant; No Injuries Reported

By    |   Wednesday, 11 Jun 2014 07:40 AM

A Columbia Falls explosion rocked a Montana wood-products plant Tuesday, prompting evacuations and causing extensive damage to the exterior of the building, though no injuries were reported.

Dozens of fire crews were battling flames at the facility in the northwest Montana community of Columbia Falls several hours after the blaze broke out between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. (2100 GMT and 2200 GMT), Cindy Mullaney, deputy director of the Flathead County Office of Emergency Services, told Reuters.

Sixty workers were safely evacuated from the plant, she said. The facility, owned by the Seattle-based timber giant Plum Creek Timber Co, produces medium-density fiberboard used for shelving, cabinetry, and paneling, according to the company's website.

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It was not known what caused the explosions and flames and how extensively the complex in Columbia Falls was damaged, said Mullaney.

"We're still dealing with the fire situation at this point," she said Tuesday evening.

Plum Creek officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The plant uses such chemical agents as resins and formaldehyde at high heat to form its engineered wood products, according to an air-pollution permit issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The company is one of the largest private landowners in the nation, managing roughly 6.8 million acres (2.75 million hectares) of forested lands in 19 states, its website says.

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An explosion rocked a Montana wood-products plant Tuesday, prompting evacuations and causing extensive damage to the exterior of the building, though no injuries were reported.
plum, creek, explosion, montana
246
2014-40-11
Wednesday, 11 Jun 2014 07:40 AM
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