A fire broke out at the Blue Mountain Seed location Thursday afternoon around 2 p.m.
According to La Grande Rural Fire Chief Larry Wooldridge, the fire originated with a piece of machinery in one of the buildings on Hwy. 82. The fire then expanded and went into the actual wood part of the building itself, and down into the basement and tried to burn up into the main structure.
Wooldridge said all the departments in the county sent resources to this fire, but the firefighters still struggled with not having enough manpower.
“Our main challenge was access to the fire because we couldn’t get to it with ladders,” Wooldridge told The Observer. “The city was having difficulty getting their ladder truck to the fire too.”
That, plus the heat of the day, and the lack of manpower made for some challenges.
Wooldridge estimated there were 20 to 24 firefighters who responded. He said the firefighters would be sent to get some water and rest after fighting the fire, but were asked as soon as they looked like they were ready to go back in.
“We did a tactical pause twice,” Wooldridge said, explaining everyone got together once the fire wasn’t free burning to hear the plan of action, drink some water and rest from responding.
The firefighters eventually got the fire under control and star ted disbursing around 6:30 p.m., he said.
“(La Grande Fire Chief Les) Thomas was there and helped an immense amount,” Wooldridge said. “The guys did great and it was a good example of where we had a limited amount of people and everyone stepped up.”