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Fire engine, fire department, truck

BURLEY — A fire broke out at the town’s municipal wastewater plant Wednesday causing damage to the dryer building.

Burley Fire Chief Shannon Tolman said the fire department was called to the plant at 9:45 a.m. where burning oil was coming out of the chimney.

“When we got there, heavy fire and smoke was coming out of the dryer chimney,” Tolman said.

Fire crews made their way into the attic of the building, which had “quite a bit of damage to the trusses,” he said.

City Administrator Mark Mitton said the municipal plant uses a sludge dryer that converts the solid waste to Class A sludge, which the city gives away to people for land application. The dryer removes any living organisms and converts the sludge to an inert substance that can be used as a low-grade fertilizer.

The dryer is oil heated.

“I think the heater portion malfunctioned and caught the oil on fire,” Mitton said.

The dryer will be inoperable until city officials can get someone to come in, check it out and make repairs.

Mitton said until repairs are made the city will have to haul the sludge to the landfill.

A claim has been sent to the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program, which provides insurance for cities, schools and counties, but there are no damage estimates yet. The risk management program will send an adjuster out, he said.

The middle portion of the roof of the dryer building will definitely have to be replaced, Mitton said.

Burley Fire Department sent two fire engines and a ladder truck and Heyburn sent an engine to battle the blaze. The gas and electric companies were also on scene.

The crews had the fire out within 35 minutes, Tolman said.

The firefighters remained on the scene until noon.

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