Fire marshal: Mill destroyed by flames had repaired past violations

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - The fire that destroyed a plywood mill July 17 started in one of the dryers used to remove moisture from the wood.

But the actual cause of the Swanson Mill fire has yet to be determined, said Mark Dahl, deputy fire marshal with the Eugene-Springfield Fire Department.

KVAL News filed a public records request with the fire department for inspection reports on the mill.

In reports dating back to 2010, inspectors found code violations, including a lack of maintenance on the mill's sprinkler system; fuel storage violations; and various electrical problems.

A report from 2012 details problems with exposed wiring and the storage of combustible materials near one of the mill's dryers.

Dahl said all the violations were repaired or "abated" within schedules set up by the fire department.

The City Council of Springfield in 2012 recognized the Swanson Group for their fire prevention efforts, he said.

Dahl said the plant was safer after the code violations were fixed.

No one was injured when the mill went up in flames.

All of the workers safely evacuated.

The fire put an estimated 250 people out of work.

The smoke plume cast debris containing asbestos into the air, where it landed at least 10 miles away.

The heat and runoff from firefighting efforts caused a fish kill in a nearby waterway.