EAST PROVIDENCE — A three-alarm fire engulfed the unfortunately-named in this instance Inferno Wood Pellet manufacturing plant located at 275 Ferris Ave. in the Rumford section of the city Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 20. Acting East Providence Fire Chief Oscar Elmasian confirmed that one employee was injured in the fire and taken to a hospital. He described the blaze as a “dust fire.”
The blaze reached the third alarm stage at approximately 2:54 p.m. Huge plumes of thick black smoke hovered over the plant, known better to many past and current city residents as the former home of the Nyman paper company.
The roof of the structure of the 319,831-square-foot building collapsed at roughly the same time, causing all firefighting personnel to be ordered out of the building. The building’s own fire suppression system, including a large water cannon perched high atop the structure, was put into service to help fight the blaze.
The East Providence Fire Department and the East Providence Police Department each had numerous vehicles in the area. The local public safety units were joined by large contingent from the Providence Fire Department, part of the mutual aid between the neighboring cities.
Details remained few as of mid-afternoon, but a mid-day explosion of some type inside the Inferno plant, which makes wood pellets for residential and commercial heating units. One official at the scene noted the building was near completely full of product, making the situation that much more difficult to contend with.
Updated 4:10 p.m.: A number of ladder trucks are back up in the air to fight fire, which continues to burn in bursts of intensity.