Cause of Prince Corporation fire determined to be mechanical failure
(Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from Prince Corporation President Jay Emling.)
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — The cause of a fire, which occurred on Thursday at Prince Corporation in the town of Marshfield, has been determined to be mechanical failure.
Jay Emling, the president of Prince Corporation, said the damage may be between $500,000 and $1 million, adding that the company “lost three pieces of equipment” in the fire. He said Prince’s insurance company was on site Friday assessing the level of damage.
Several area fire departments responded to the scene Thursday after the fire was reported around 1:30 p.m. There were no injuries to firefighters or Prince employees, Hewitt Fire Chief Brian Hafermann said. He noted that the fire was extinguished at about 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The fire started in a grain bin at Prince. Emling said Prince’s pellet mill, which makes “pelleted feed,” overheated. That overheated feed then fell down into a cooling fan and subsequently into the grain bin below.
“There are sensors on that pellet mill that (are) supposed to shut it down if it gets overheated,” Emling said. At this time it is not known why that sensor failed.
Prince Corporation is a “wholesale distributor and manufacturer of agricultural, lawn and garden, pet, and wild bird products,” according to the company’s website.
“As an owner you’re just kind of real thankful that nobody got hurt,” Emling said, adding that his employees have been trained for a fire situation and handled Thursday’s incident as they were supposed to. He said that other feed mills in the area have offered help to Prince in the wake of the fire.
Emling estimated that, as of Friday, Prince was at 75 percent of its normal production capacity.
Hafermann said his department was not continuing to investigate the fire at this time.
Fire Departments from Arpin, Auburndale, Hewitt, Pittsville, Marshfield, Richfield, and Vesper responded to the scene on Thursday.