Jaffrey fire: On the scene

Firefighters are seen at the scene of Sunday's fire at Lignetics Inc. (formerly New England Wood Pellet) on Old Sharon Road in Jaffrey. The plant typically operates seven days a week.

JAFFREY — Firefighters quickly knocked down a two-alarm blaze at a wood pellet manufacturer Sunday afternoon.

Units arrived at the Lignetics Inc. facility (formerly New England Wood Pellet) on Sharon Road at 1:21 p.m., according to Jaffrey Fire Chief David Chamberlain.

“Due to the history here and the type of product with the sawdust,” he said, the situation was escalated to a second alarm and more units were called to the scene.

That history includes four fires at the Jaffrey plant between 2008 and 2012, culminating in agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a $100,000 fine and mandated safety measures.

Chamberlain said Sunday’s fire was inside one of the mills and appeared to be caused by a malfunction on a machine motors, though the official cause hasn’t been determined. Crews disassembled the machine and extinguished the blaze, he said, controlling the situation within about 45 minutes.

No one was injured, he added.

Neither the automatic fire alarm nor the sprinkler system activated, he said, noting that the flames likely weren’t big enough.

Chamberlain said employees in the facility’s break room first noticed the fire and tried for about 15 minutes to extinguish it themselves before calling emergency responders.

The plant, which typically operates seven days a week, will need to shut down for cleaning and repairs, Chamberlain said, estimating as of 3 p.m. that it would be at least 12 hours before the facility could reopen.

Lignetics Inc., the largest residential wood pellet manufacturing company in the country, bought out New England Wood Pellets in early 2018. The sale included the flagship facility in Jaffrey, along with plants in New York and Pennsylvania.

Sierra Hubbard can be reached at 355-8546 or at shubbard@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter at @SierraHubbardKS.