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Fire at Inland Empire Paper Co. quickly contained
WASHINGTON (News release) -- After a fire broke out Wednesday evening, Dec. 2, at Inland Empire Paper Co., firefighters were quickly able to contain the flames.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to reports of a fire at the company located at 3320 N. Argonne Road, according to a news release from the fire department. Employees were attempting to fight the fire.

The first firefighters arrived in five minutes to find a fire inside of a newsprint recycling shredder, the department said. More fire crews were immediately called in due to the size and complexity of the mill, the fire department said.

Mill employees turned off the power to the area so firefighters could use large volumes of water to put out the flames. All employees were evacuated safely and no one was injured.

Environmental manager at the plant, Doug Krapas, said the fire started in a pulper that isn't used daily not in the main part of the plant where chemicals are used.

"It's kind of like a big blender and we're blending paper and water," Krapas said.

The fire started in the motor of the pulper, Krapas said, with the brunt of the damage contained to the motor itself.

It was "nothing that shut the mill down," Krapas said.

A total of 18 fire apparatus and support vehicles responded to the scene, including personnel from neighboring fire agencies, the fire department said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and damage was limited to the shredder and hopper area.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department's news release reminded people to call 911 when a fire is discovered and not to attempt to fight the fire themselves.

Inland Empire Paper is owned by the Cowles Co.

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