Firefighters battle MDF fire until early morning hours

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Firefighters respond to a blaze at the Weyerhaeuser MDF plant Thursday in Columbia Falls. (Hungry Horse News photo)

Columbia Falls and a host of other fire departments worked until 1 a.m. Friday morning to put out a sawdust fire at the Weyerhaeuser Medium Density Fiberboard plant.

The fire was caused by a faulty piece of equipment that sparked a fire in the sawdust storage building, said Columbia Falls assistant fire chief Jesse Best. The fire started about 9 p.m.

There were no injuries, though one firefighter was treated for dehydration. Whitefish, Evergreen and Three Rivers Ambulance all responded to the blaze, which included flames, smoke and smoldering sawdust, Best said.

Weyerhaeuser spokesman Tom Ray said nothing major was damaged in the fire and the plant was operating.

Complicating things, during the Weyerhaeuser fire, a transformer blew near the Sapa Johnsrud fields and started a grass fire, Best said.

Blankenship responded with mutual aid to that fire, Best said.

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