A fire at a wood-pellet plant that lit up the skies over Corinth on Wednesday night and kept crews from more than 20 fire departments on the scene overnight started when a pellet cooling machine overheated and ignited.

Jeff Bragdon, Corinth’s assistant fire chief, said flames from the cooling machine scorched the metal roof and attic of the main processing area, creating intense heat on the floor of the building.

His brother, Corinth Fire Chief Scott Bragdon was treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation, and was recovering Thursday.

“He took in a bunch of smoke and it knocked him on his butt,” Jeff Bragdon said Thursday evening in a telephone interview. “He’s doing a lot better now.”

According to Bragdon, firefighters received a call around 6 p.m. Wednesday reporting that the Corinth Wood Pellets manufacturing facility at 74 Hob Road was on fire. Hob Road runs from the plant to Route 15, which was shut down.

The fire caused extensive damage to the main wood pellet processing area, causing sections of the walls and ceiling to collapse. Firefighters, however, prevented the fire from spreading to the company’s main office and warehouse.

Firefighters were on the scene late Wednesday and early Thursday checking on hot spots and cleaning up debris.

“I got home at 2 o’clock this afternoon,” Bragdon said.

He said the plant will remain shut down for an unknown period before it can restart operations.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office was not called in to investigate because the fire is not suspicious, the assistant chief said.

He is fairly certain that there was some type of malfunction in the cooling machine, which reduces the temperature of the hot pellets. After passing through the machine, the pellets are bagged and placed in storage.

Bragdon said the main processing building was insured. An insurance adjuster visited the mill Thursday, but the financial loss caused by the fire probably won’t be known until Monday or Tuesday.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

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