PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Evacuation orders were lifted for Grass Valley, Ore. residents on Monday after a hemp plant erupted in flames and burned five employees, according to the Sherman County Sherriff’s Office.
Deputies said residents were urged to leave their homes Sunday afternoon because there was a risk that combustible chemicals in the area could explode.
Authorities told KOIN 6 that the blaze was only smoldering as of Monday morning.
The Oregon State Fire Marshal, DEQ and hazmat teams responded to the plant early Monday morning. Officials determined the scene was clear and lifted the evacuation orders shortly before noon.
The Sheriff’s Office first posted about the blaze on Facebook shortly before 3:45 p.m. Sunday. Nearly three hours later, deputies said the building was fully engulfed and there had been multiple small explosions.
An overnight shelter was set up at Sherman High School by the American Red Cross. The Sherman County Emergency Services said it’s hopeful residents will be able to return home sometime Monday morning.
Highway 97 was closed in the area but has since reopened.
It’s unclear what started the fire, but deputies said fire officials will assess the incident Monday morning.