Massive fire destroys grain bins, disaster declared by county

Massive fire destroys grain bins, disaster declared by county
Courtesy KLEW Facebook page.

CRAIGMONT, Idaho (AP) - A large fire that destroyed an elevator and three grain bins in the tiny northern Idaho town of Craigmont was declared contained even as piles of twisted metal and grain continued to smolder Monday morning.

The fire was reported at around 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Hinrichs Trading Co. garbanzo bean elevator. Lewis County authorities said the fire spread to three grain bins.

Grain spilled out the side of the burning elevators and caught fire as the blaze spread from structure to structure.

Hazardous materials were removed from the area shortly after the fire was discovered, Lewis County authorities said.

More than two dozen agencies responded to help fight the fire. Officials evacuated several blocks around the fire and worked through the night to protect a nearby Columbia Grain office and storage building.

The Lewis County commission declared a state of emergency in the town of about 500. School was canceled Monday and the Highland High School gymnasium was available for temporarily displaced families.

Craigmont Volunteer Fire Chief Rick Samsel told The Lewiston Tribune the fire was contained Monday morning, but firefighters were bracing for wind and thunderstorms expected in the afternoon.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.