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The City of Portland, Oregon

Fire & Rescue

Always Ready, Always There

Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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NEWS RELEASE 12/04/09: Dust Explosion at Land O'Lakes


Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) responded at approximately 8:30 pm on December 4, 2009 to reports of an explosion and smoke from the main tower on the third floor at Land O' Lakes, located on N. Simmons Road.  Crews arrived on scene and upon investigation, firefighters discovered a machine on the third floor referred to as a "corn cracker" that had caused a "dust explosion."  There were also three "explosion panels" that were blown off of the building due to the event.  Fortunately, no employees where in the area when the incident occurred.

Earlier in the day, employees had been performing maintenance on the machinery. The purpose of the "corn cracker" is to mix hot and cold material, then transfer it onto a conveyer belt that carries it to different areas and levels throughout the building.  When the machine overheated, it caused a dust explosion which threw embers throughout the area and traveled into five different silos that were partially full of material.

Fire crews worked efficiently over the next two hours locating and extinguishing "hot spots" throughout the structure and all five silos. Land O' Lakes plant personnel were a great asset in assisting Portland Fire with the abatement of the incident.

The losses are as follows:

  • Building is worth - $25 million
  • $50,000.00 in equipment damage
  • $5,000.00 in material

Total Loss (including time loss) - $100,000.00


  • 4 Engines
  • 2 Trucks
  • 1 Fire Boat
  • 3 Chiefs
  • 27 PF&R Personnel responded to this incident 

December 4, 2009


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