Last month a similar combustible dust related fire at a wood pellet plant occurred at Westwood Fibre Products in
From viewing the above picture, it wasn’t much of a non-issue, when last year in Monticello, WI, Risley Pellet Solutions exploded, injuring two workers. Over the last six weeks in Marion, PA., AJ Stoves and Pellets, has experienced hopper explosions twice due to combustible dust. Since there were no fatalities or three or more injuries, it's like the tree fell in the forest, yet no one heard it. So did the tree fall?
It's highly advisable that all wood pellet manufacturers install spark detection and extinguishment systems adjacent to their conveyors. If that is to expensive, then at least shutdown the conveyor at the first sign of fire so burning pellets will not enter the adjacent bulk storage unit.
As a matter of any fire occurring where combustible particulate solids are handled, you be the judge of whether it is a non-issue or not. Hopefully the prior examples will add light to the subject in whether preventative and mitigative measures should be implemented according the the NFPA combustible dust standards.
8/22/08-AJ Stoves & Pellets- dust explosion/hopper
8/15/08 Corinth Wood Pellets- fire/sawdust dryer
8/10/08 New England Wood Pellets- fire/pellet mill
7/15/08-AJ Stoves & Pellets- dust explosion/hopper
5/20/08 Corinth Wood Pellets- fire/exterior burner
Photo Credit: Monticello Fire & Rescue