This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Fire at Weetabix: Was it sparked by cereal dust?

13 August 2010

A three-alarm fire at The Weetabix Company in the US - which has caused about £129,000 damage - has been attributed to a buildup of cereal dust in ducts from a coating machine, according to www.telegram.com

The head of the fire department, Richard J Hart, said he plans to speak to Weetabix officials about improving procedures for cleaning ducts at the 20 Cameron St factory, says www.telegram.com.

“Cereal dust is a problem,” the chief said. “It’s fine and dry and doesn’t take much of a flame to ignite. It goes right through those ovens.”

“The chief said cereal ingredients are heated in the drying process and are often coated with sugar and other flammable substances. All kinds of things contribute to a kind of hazardous situation there,” he said.

An employee in the factory’s parking lot during the fire, which was reported about 8:40pm on the fifth floor of a newer building, said several small fires a year occur there but the one Wednesday was the largest he'd witnessed. Fires at Weetabix were reported by the Telegram & Gazette in 1992, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2008 and 2009 but none required three alarms.

Chief Hart said no injuries were reported Wednesday but fire companies from Berlin, Boylston, Lancaster, Sterling and West Boylston were called in because the high heat and humidity made it impossible for firefighters to work long stints. An ambulance and a stretcher were set up beside the building.

The company was evacuated. Employees said the building, especially the fifth floor, quickly filled with smoke. Weetabix, which employs about 265 workers, is Clinton’s second largest employer, after Nypro. Besides Weetabix cereal, the company produces food for Barbara’s Bakery, including Puffins and Snackanimals; and Alpen, all organic products.

It is unclear if Weetabix was in production yesterday. Nobody answered telephones, and Hart said they were probably still cleaning.

He estimated damage at $200,000 (about £129,000). The UK-based cereal company opened in Clinton in 1936 in the former Van Brode mills building off Green and Cameron streets. A 10,000-square-foot addition on the second floor opened in 2008 with much fanfare, including a visit by Gov Deval L Patrick, who sampled the new organic cereal bars produced there.


Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page

RELATED CONTENT...


Article image EXCLUSIVE Dusting off the hazards in the food industry

The food industry is as vulnerable to hazardous risks as any other but the hygiene demands from retailers mean it has to be particularly careful. David Strydom asked several experts for their opinions.Full Story...

Article image System Sensor: This is groundbreaking technology

David Strydom spoke to two technical specialists at System Sensor - David Howard (DH) and Johan Vossen (JV) - regarding hazardous area in the food and beverage sector. Excerpts:Full Story...

SHP: Dairy fined after explosion destroys cheese factory roof

Chubb delivers fire safety training to Uniq

New specialist for Ex-Solutions Consulting

RELATED SPONSORED ARTICLES...


Article image EXCLUSIVE Dusting off the hazards in the food industry

The food industry is as vulnerable to hazardous risks as any other but the hygiene demands from retailers mean it has to be particularly careful. David Strydom asked several experts for their opinions.Full Story...

Article image System Sensor: This is groundbreaking technology

David Strydom spoke to two technical specialists at System Sensor - David Howard (DH) and Johan Vossen (JV) - regarding hazardous area in the food and beverage sector. Excerpts:Full Story...

MOST VIEWED...


Article image Spray and save on the glazing process

Food glazes are widely used in the bakery sector to improve the look and taste of baked products. Traditionally, this coating process has resulted in substantial waste. Technology advances mean that this is no longer the case. Full Story...

Article image Your flexible friend in the food factory

Suzanne Gill finds out where thermal imaging technology can help around the factory. Full Story...

Self diagnostics: an enabler for predictive maintenance

A dry-ageing process improvement

What role does refrigeration play in the supply chain?

http://www.appetite4eng.co.uk