SWANTON — A silo fire at Poulin Grain Friday may have been burning through the night, according to officials, and may have been caused by welding work being done the day before. There were no injuries.
Early on Friday morning, customer service representative Tara Gogner said staff outside the silo building at the 24 Depot St. facility were notified of smoke inside the silo by the workers inside.
It was Gogner who made the call.
“We were dispatched for a silo on fire inside the plant, and got the call roughly around 9:30 a.m.,” said Swanton Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Lawrence Bouissey. “They had contractors working on the exterior wall and they were doing some welding, and we believe what started the fire was them welding that caused the spray foam that was there [to ignite]. It caught that annular space on fire, and it was just sitting there for awhile.”
Inside the silo was powdered grain, Bouissey said. Units from Swanton, Highgate, and Sheldon responded as well as Missisquoi Valley Rescue Squad and the Swanton Village police.
The fire was not fully involved and did not have any flames visible from the outside, Bouissey said, but it was discovered during the search that the flames caught in an annular space in between the silo wall and the grain canister inside.
“We’re still looking for the source of the fire,” Bouissey said midday on Friday.
The fire extended into the silo, where it started to ignite some of the powdered grain inside, but crews managed to knock it down by using a ladder extension on one of the trucks to reach the silo, before using a K12 saw to cut a hole in the side of the silo.
Approximately 10 workers had to be evacuated from the Poulin Grain facility, and workers inside one of the adjacent buildings declined to comment because they were busy.
The extent of the property damage was unknown, and there were no injuries, Bouissey said.
The fire had been completely knocked down as of noon. Depot Street was closed as fire and EMS