NEWPORT - Smoke could be seen from all over the city of Newport after a fire broke out at the Newport freshwater treatment plant at 2810 N.E. Big Creek Road.
Multiple callers reported the smoke and fire to 911 just before 10:30 Friday, Aug. 9. A 911 call from the plant revealed that the fire was in a containment in the abandoned section of the old water plant.
The first arriving Newport Fire Department unit reported heavy black smoke, and a fire attack commenced with special consideration for nearby treatment lines and tanks as exposures. The fire was eventually put out with a master stream from the first due engine, several large hand lines, and an aerial master stream from the Ladder truck. No active part of the water treatment facilities received any damage, and the water plant continued operations without interruption. There were no reports of anyone being hurt during the fire.
A subsequent investigation determined there was active welding work going on inside the concrete containment which caused the fire. The type of plastic material that filled the containment contributed to rapid flame spread that quickly overwhelmed the efforts of the workers onsite.
Newport Fire Department responded with three fire engines, a ladder truck, one heavy rescue and 12 personnel. Additional assistance was provided by Pacific West Ambulance, Newport Police Department, and an engine and crew from Toledo Fire Department.
Newport Fire Department would like to remind the public that any welding, cutting, or other "hot work" is a fire hazard and should be accompanied by the appropriate type of fire extinguishing equipment and an attendant fire watch.