Bay Minette, Alabama – A Baghouse fire at a furniture manufacturing plant led to the closure of the entire site for several days. The Bay Minette, Alabama plant operated by Standard Furniture Manufacturing Co. suffered an explosion and ensuing fire in two silos that contain sawdust collected by the plant’s larger dust collection system.
While the exact cause of the explosion, and subsequent fire are not yet known, it is expected that an ignition source (such as a spark or an electric arc) may have been caused during a maintenance procedure.
The 600+ employees of the plant had to remain at home until the Baghouse was repaired and back in operation. This was further delayed when fire inspectors from the local fire department requested that the Baghouse be taken apart to aid them in their investigation of the fire.
This incident, one of many that occur each year, illustrates the importance of a site’s Baghouse, and larger dust collection system to maintaining normal operations. These often overlooked systems can when they malfunction due to maintenance neglect, improper operation, poor design, or other reasons lead to immense immediate costs for plant operators, and even larger long term ones.
Therefore this example highlights the need for constant attention to be given to dust collection systems so as to avoid these expenses, and therefore reduce overall operating costs. Only by maintaining a program of regular Baghouse maintenance, providing operators with sufficient training, ensuring all systems are adequately sized for the facility’s needs and meet all safety standards, can costly incidents like this one be avoided.