SILVER SPRINGS -- A faulty light is to blame for a fire at a Silver Springs plant that caused the evacuation of 200 surrounding homes.
"The State Fire Marshal's Office finished their investigation and the official cause appears to be a faulty ballast in a fluorescent light," said Geoff Goodfellow, Nevada Wood Preserving Corp. plant manager.
The fire, which ignited among silos holding various flammable chemicals to include diesel fuel, sent up large plumes of black toxic smoke which caused officials to evacuate an estimated 400 people in a one-mile radius of the plant.
Goodfellow said estimates on the damage have yet to be totaled, but the plant, which is situated on 100 acres near Lahontan Reservoir State Park, lost two buildings in the blaze -- a 300-square-foot press room and a 600-square-foot building which housed equipment.
The sole employee on site at the time of the 8:30 p.m. Tuesday fire was unharmed.
"We are still addressing some safety issues, but we did resume shipping and receiving operations," he said. "We have full intentions of being fully operational by next week."
Goodfellow said they will wait another few days before starting up their wood treatment process.
"We want to be as safe as possible."
A wood plant has been in the Silver Springs site since Dec. 9, 1986. The facility pressure-treats lumber and utility poles to protect against weathering. It is a subsidiary of Pacific Wood Preserving Inc., of Bakersfield.
Goodfellow said he couldn't be more pleased with the emergency response.
"We would like to very much thank the folks that responded -- all the agencies that came to our rescue, " he said "Had it not been for their efforts we would be looking at considerably more damage to the plant."
The plant is staffed by 28 employees. It is locally owned by Dick and Elaina Jackson.
To the hundreds of people displaced by the fire Tuesday night, Goodfellow apologized.
"We certainly are sorry that the area had to be evacuated. It was strictly precautionary. We like to err on the side of caution, especially because of the type of business that we do," he said.
"We appreciate the community's support here and we certainly support the community every chance we get."
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