Crews battle massive, four-alarm fire in Salem

Crews battle a four-alarm fire in Salem on Aug. 19, 2019. KATU photo

SALEM, Ore. – A massive, four-alarm fire burned much of a Salem wood pallet company's inventory on Monday morning.

Salem Fire Department said the fire broke out at 1650 Salem Industrial Dr. NE at the Oregon Pallet facility.

Officials said the fire was under control at around 6:15 a.m., less than three hours after crews first responded. The flames were contained to a burning heap of pallets, but crews continue to monitor the area. A section of Industrial Way remains closed.

"It's a lot of wood, a lot of pallets, and combustibles, they provide fuel for the fire," said Deputy Fire Chief Gabe Benmoussa.

An employee of Oregon Pallet told KATU News that no one was inside the building when the fire started, but eight of their semi-trucks, a grinder, a few flat-beds and an excavator were destroyed.

"Coming in and seeing all of our trucks gone. It's hard," said employee Cory Rhyne.

Rhyne estimated that 75% of their inventory was lost in the fire.

The fire was so large at its peak, it appeared on the GOES-17 Satellite Imagery.

Despite the size of the fire, Salem Fire officials said they were able to protect the company warehouse and office.

Rhyne expressed optimism that work could partially resume at the company as soon as the power is turned back on.

"I praise Salem fire. It could have been a whole lot worse," said Rhyne.

Fire officials have not identified a cause.

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