LIVINGSTON, Mont. (AP) — A fire apparently caused by a dust explosion destroyed buildings and equipment at a Montana sawmill and one employee was flown to a Salt Lake City hospital for burn treatment, officials said.
The fire started at 6 a.m. Monday at R-Y Timber in Livingston, destroying three connected buildings, machinery and stored lumber. The company’s planer building was “burned to the ground,” general manager Dan Richards said.
The cause of the fire was an electrical spark and a dust explosion, Richards told the Livingston Enterprise.
R-Y Timber employs about 85 people in Livingston, where it makes about 16% of the construction lumber manufactured in Montana, according to the company’s website.
The loss of the planer, which smooths lumber, means the company won’t be able to operate as normal, Dennis Davas, resource manager for R-Y Timber, told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. He did not know when the sawmill would be operating again
Officials did not release information about the injured employee’s condition.
In late May, R-Y Timber’s shuttered sawmill in Townsend caught fire, destroying the building and machinery that had been set to be sold at auction in June, The Townsend location closed in 2019.
Broadwater County Sheriff Wynn Meehan said in early August that the cause of the Townsend fire had not been determined, the Independent Record reported.