Cowlitz County crews respond to 4 fires in 1 afternoon


Crews are still at the scene of two fires

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Emergency responders were called out to four separate fires across Cowlitz County Sunday afternoon. Two of the fires remained active into the evening, according to Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue.

Industrial fire remains active

A major industrial fire broke out at Swanson Bark and Wood Products in Longview Sunday afternoon. According to Cowlitz County Emergency Management, the fire was reported at 2:37 p.m. As of 9:15 p.m. crews were still at the scene, battling the blaze. It is unclear what caused the fire.

The Washington State Department of Transportation warned drivers that smoke from the industrial fire impacted visibility in both directions on State Route 432 near milepost 9 (Tennant Way). Drivers should exercise caution when traveling through the area.

Industrial fire at Swanson Bark & Wood Products. April 12, 2020 (KOIN)

Longview house fire kills family dog

Earlier in the afternoon, the Longview Fire Department was dispatched to a house fire on Ragland Road. Crews arrived to find smoke coming out of the eves and the front door of the home. Three children—ages 12 and under—and their grandmother were able to safely get out of the house before firefighters arrived, said Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue, which also responded to assist.

After about an hour and a half, firefighters were able to get the blaze under control and it was fully extinguished just before 4 p.m.

Unfortunately, the family’s dog died in the fire, and the home was later deemed a “total loss” by fire officials. The Red Cross has stepped in the assist the family. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Brush fire being monitored

Within minutes of the industrial fire in Longview being reported, another fire broke out in Cowlitz County—a brush fire in Kelso. Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue said that the brush fire was reported as getting out of control and quickly spreading up a hill where two homes were located.

Brush engines, water tankers, and aerial support were dispatched to the 200-block of Astro Dr. East of Interstate-5. After a heavy fire response was sent out, crews reported that the fire was roughly two acres in size. The spreading fire was slowed, however, crews will remain at the scene overnight to “monitor the fire and watch for hot spots.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation, said Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue.

Equipment fire near county line

Later into Sunday evening, Cowlitz County firefighters were called out to an equipment fire on Ocean Beach Highway near the county line.

Crews got the call for help at 7:10 p.m. and sent a brush engine and a structural engine. Information on this fire was limited.

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