Spontaneous combustion fires are fairly common this time of year, especially when it comes to storage of grain or organic material that may contain excess moisture. Through an oxidation process involving moisture and air, bacterial fermentation can generate heat. If the material is very dense, packed tightly, or otherwise stored in a way that does not permit the heat to escape, the temperature of the material rises – perhaps to its ignition temperature.
CALEDONIA, N.Y. (AP) – Investigators in western New York say spontaneous combustion of animal feed started the fire that destroyed a large grain mill and storage facility operated by Minnesota-based Land O’ Lakes.
Fire crews from more than two dozen departments battled the fire that broke out Saturday night at Commodity Resource Corp. in the Livingston County town of Caledonia, 15 miles south of Rochester.
The company says the site is the largest dairy feed manufacturing facility and dry fertilizer distribution center in the region.
The plant was closed at the time of the fire.
On Tuesday, Caledonia Deputy Chief John Murray told media outlets the fire was caused by spontaneous combustion. That’s the same thing that sparked a September fire at a Cargill feed plant in Salem near the Vermont border.