Fire burns Montana plant

Monday at about noon and approximately 12 hours after the Fire Department was called, a Lewistown fireman uses the ladder truck to check a hotspot at Mountain Meadows. Photo by Doreen Heintz

Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 11:50 AM MST

The Lewistown fire department responded to a 911 call in the wee hours of Monday morning for a fire at the Mountain Meadows plant on Commercial Ave.

Mountain Meadows is a Lewistown company making animal bedding and litter from wheat straw. According to Lewistown Fire Chief Keith Kucera, the fire at the Mountain Meadows plant was phoned in by a passer-by at 12:06 a.m. on Monday.

Three engines responded and worked all night.

“When we got there, the fire was burning heavily and the plant was vented (burned through the roof) in a couple of areas,” Kucera told the News-Argus. “This is a 4,000 square foot facility, and it took us all night to get a handle on all of it. The walls and ceiling are tin, which was falling in due to the fire. That made it dangerous to get in there. There was high voltage electric in there, too.”

Kucera said the fire crews were able to get on top of the fire by about 7 a.m. Monday morning.

“There was no one in the plant at the time the fire started,” Kucera said. “We had zero injuries. Everything was icy due to the temperature, but as of Monday afternoon, the fire was 99 percent out.”

Kucera said some of his crew were still at the plant late on Monday watching for hot spots. He said there is no indication yet of the cause of the fire but the State Fire Marshall is assisting Lewistown Fire Department with the investigation.

Kucera said the plant manager told him it could cost more than $2 million to rebuild.

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