Fire at Murphy Plywood in Rogue River quickly knocked down

Rogue River firefighters responded to a call at Murphy Plywood and assisted millworkers in extinguishing a small fire in the mill’s dust collection system, officials said.

The plywood plant and the fire station are located on the southeastern edge of town. Capt. Mark Northrup said the first call to render aid at the mill’s “baghouse fire” came in at 11:30 a.m.

“The mill guys were already putting water on it when we got there,” Northrup said.

The fire was in the vacuum suction and boiler area of the mill. But thanks to the quick work of the millworkers and firefighters, it was quickly knocked down to smoke and smoldering sawdust and bark.

Checking through the woody debris to make sure there are no hot spots will take hours, he said.

“It’s going to take a long time to dig through this. We’ll be using a lot of shovels and masks,” Northrup said.

The Eugene-based Murphy Co. acquired the 164,000-square-foot plant and its equipment on 51 acres for $3.6 million in 2010 after the mill went into receivership when former operator Panel Products of Milwaukie no longer was able to pay its debt.

— Sanne Specht

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