December 18, 2008

BNI dragline fire quickly extinguished

BNI Coal summoned the Oliver County Rural Fire Department and the Hazen City Fire Department at 11 a.m. Dec. 10 to assist with a fire in the "Big Jake" dragline working five miles southwest of Center.

"Our employees put the fire out in 15-20 minutes," Jeff Forsberg, Safety Director for BNI said. "We sent the Hazen department back, but kept Oliver County’s at the site to monitor the situation for about an hour. We really appreciate their quick response."

Forsberg said Hazen was called as a precautionary backup.

"Thank you to the fire departments for their help."

Forsberg said that no one was injured and damage to the dragline was minimal. The fire damaged a couple of cords and a welding lead.

"Our primary concern was that everybody was OK," Forsberg said.

Forsberg said the dragline was in a repair mode at the time and wasn’t in operation. Workers were doing maintenance when sparks from an air arcing procedure set off some grease. Other operations at the mine were not affected.

Forsberg praised the clear thinking of the employees that used fire extinguishers that were close by.

"They followed procedures and contained the fire," he said. "Knowing what to do in situations like that is part of their job."

Forsberg said BNI employees would assess procedures to determine what went right and how to avoid an occurrence like that from happening again.

The Weather Network