Evacuation orders lifted following massive Washington State fire at potato plant
GRANT COUNTY, Washington - Evacuated residents of a Washington State town have finally been allowed to return to their homes after threats of a potential explosion were deemed unlikely to occur.
According to CNN, locals in the city of Warden were told to flee Thursday (Jan.21) night around 5:30 p.m., but the order was lifted early Friday by officials.
It all started when local police and fire agencies responded to a commercial structure fire at Washington Potato Company in Warden, Washington, according to the Grant County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities issued a Level 3 evacuation, which meant "GO NOW" for "All areas west of Road U-SE and south of SR170, Warden," a tweet from the sheriff's office said late Thursday.
"Law enforcement officers will go door-to-door to notify persons in the Level 3 area," the message said.
There was a "risk of ammonia tank explosion," the sheriff's office said.
Moses Lake Firefighters are currently assisting GCFD4 with a county wide all call for the #WashingtonPotatoFire While the City of Warden is under Level 3 evacuation, firefighters continue to work on suppression efforts while mitigating an active hazmat situation. pic.twitter.com/alpwSchN7L— Moses Lake Firefighters L1258 (@MosesLakeFFs) January 22, 2021
The sheriff's office gave residents the all clear signal in a tweet early Friday morning.
Local news outlet KOMO News says employees at the potato plant safely evacuated the fire, which started in the dehydrator and no injuries were reported.
Warden, a town with a population of about 2,800, is located nearly 90 miles southwest of Spokane. At this time, the exact number of residents who were ordered to evacuate is unclear.
According to the Washington Potato Company, owned by Oregon Potato Co., the plant is known for "premium quality dehydrated and dehydrofrozen potato products both domestically and throughout the world."
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