Grain-conveyor blaze causes $100,000 damage


An overheated conveyor belt caught fire yesterday at the Hansen-Mueller Co. grain storage facility, 1800 Water St., sending thick black smoke billowing skyward and causing an estimated $100,000 damage to the outside conveyor system, authorities said.

The conveyor moving grain into the facility caught fire about 6 a.m. All workers escaped unharmed by the time fire crews arrived at the scene at 6:03 p.m., Battalion Fire Chief Brian Byrd said.

Four engines, a ladder truck, and a rescue squad had the fire under control within 20 minutes before the fire could spread to the storage facility. A malfunctioning yard water hydrant system hampered firefighters' efforts. A city water hydrant about 100 yards away was used, Chief Byrd said.

The fire damage was contained to the conveyor system outside the facility, the chief said.