Explosion damages paper mill

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Two buildings at the International Paper Riverdale Mill were

damaged when a fire

caused an explosion Sunday morning.

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The cause of the fire is not known and no injuries were reported.

According to a statement issued by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, two forklift operators had been in the area prior to the explosion when they smelled &uot;something burning.&uot;

The report says the operators left the area after they were unable to locate the source of the smell.

Approximately 20 minutes later the explosion occurred.

No one was in either of the damaged buildings &045; the Pulp Dryer Warehouse and Purchasing buildings &045; when the incident happened.

According to a press release from IP, the fire seems to have originated in the Pulp Dryer Warehouse.

This warehouse is one of the facilities used to store paper at the Riverdale site.

The fire marshal says a paper fire is believed to be the cause of the explosion.

An investigation has revealed the fire caused a gas tank on a forklift to explode.

This lift was powered by liquefied petroleum gas.

Damage to the buildings was not known at the time of publication.

Frasier said this recent incident has not effected operations at the mill.

Frasier added that no employees will be forced to miss work as a result of the fire.

After the fire set off the mill alarm, the Burnsville and Valley Grande Volunteer Fire Departments, along with the Riverdale Emergency Response Team, arrived on the scene and managed to get the situation under control.

Representatives from these departments were unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

The Riverdale Mill is located 10 miles east of Selma on Highway 140.