Fire crews responded on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 4:53 p.m. to a commercial structural fire at Chips Inc, a wood processing facility at 26 Zion Park Road in Troy.
When first responders arrived, they reported heavy black smoke and flames. Mutual aid was requested from Fluvanna, Albemarle and Orange counties for additional support, to assist Louisa crews from companies 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7.
According to Chief Keith Greene, the fire appears to have started from a hydraulic line that ruptured, igniting chips and sawdust within a conveyor/auger system and the contents of the silo.
The fire was marked “under control” within 45 minutes, but several units remained on scene until 11:30 p.m. to ensure the fire was completely extinguished.
“Fires of this nature hold the potential for confined space operations and/or dust explosions, which are very dangerous,” Greene said. “It is commendable that the leadership on scene was aware of the dangers and initiated appropriate actions before and during the suppression efforts, minimizing the potential for personal injury and further structural damage.”
Greene estimates that damage to the plant is in the neighborhood of $200,000.
A call was placed to Chips’ president for confirmation of the estimate, but he was with insurance adjustors and did not return the call by press time.