May 25, 2024

Quick fire department response saves Pinnacle MAD from major fire incident 

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Jake Sias

Grant County Herald

A potentially disastrous fire at Pinnacle Manufacturing and Distribution was averted on Thursday morning, thanks to the quick response from the Elbow Lake Fire Department and the timely action of an employee who also serves as a firefighter. The incident started when a defunct dust collector, which had been inactive for several years, unexpectedly began to smoke.

The dust collector, roughly the size of an industrial refrigerator, was a remnant from Amerifab, the previous occupant of the site. Although the dust collector had been out of operation and the connected circuit breaker was left open for years, power was restored to it when the circuit breaker was closed inadvertently. 

Jake Hagen, an employee at Pinnacle who also serves with the Elbow Lake Fire Department, was on-site at the time of the incident. Leveraging his training as a firefighter, he was able to provide crucial information to the incoming fire department teams, helping them rapidly understand the situation and formulate an effective response strategy.

Thanks to these combined efforts, the firefighters managed to contain the fire, preventing it from reaching the building’s ceiling insulation or the various pressurized canisters nearby. Both the ceiling insulation and the canisters could have escalated the fire significantly, potentially leading to a major industrial disaster.

The firefighting operation was conducted under challenging weather conditions. The temperature that day was 83 degrees Fahrenheit, with a relative humidity of 60%. Despite this, the firefighters were able to successfully perform their duties while wearing their full protective gear in the smoke-filled environment. Fire Chief Nathan Porter stressed the importance of the personal preparation that the firefighters need to stay hydrated at all times in order to respond to emergencies such as this.

The damage from the incident was confined primarily to the dust collector and a few sets of welding equipment that were caught in the firefighting operations. In light of this, Pinnacle will be closed for approximately one week while inspections are conducted and necessary repairs are carried out.

Pinnacle’s insurance policy covers the business for such incidents, ensuring that the company can manage the financial implications of the temporary closure. This coverage includes the provision for the loss of wages for its employees during this period, thus protecting them from financial difficulties arising from the unforeseen shutdown.

In a recent statement, Jeff Roquette,Pinnacle’s CEO and Chairman, praised the swift response from law enforcement and the fire department. “We are very thankful for law enforcement’s help and how fast and well the fire department responded to save our facility. They did a spectacular job! We are hoping to clear inspection early next week and be back up and running by the end of the week.”

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