$650,000 in damages estimated for Tangent fire

Fire investigators are trying to find the cause of a blaze that destroyed a structure at Oregon Powder Coating in Tangent. Structure is still smoking on Dec. 1, 2017. (SBG)

TANGENT, Ore. -- Fire investigators are still trying to learn the cause of a blaze that destroyed a structure at Oregon Powder Coating in Tangent.

Photos from the Tangent Fire District show massive flames bursting from one of the buildings.

“We arrived, there was fire and smoke coming from the end unit or a four-bay building,” Tangent Fire Chief Scott Casebolt said.

But this wasn't a standard fire - according to Casebolt, the building was filled with toxic chemicals that violently explode when water hits them.

“We were kind of handcuffed,” said Casebolt, “the only thing we could do was keep the fire from spreading, and contain it to that building.

“We did put water on it, but we had to be very judicious about how much because of the concerns for the runoff and contaminating the soil.”

Early Friday morning, the wreckage was still smoking and fire hot spots dotted the twisted metal.

It wasn't just the nature of the fire that posed a challenge; it was the size.

“Tangent's a pretty small community,” Casebolt explained, “it's rural, it's an all-volunteer department…so we don't see big fires like that very often.”

Chief Casebolt says they called on other fire departments from places like Albany, Halsey, Lebanon and Philomath among others, to help fight the fire.

“We had a good turnout from our folks, but we couldn't have done it without help from all of our neighbors as well.”

With the combined efforts of roughly 65 firefighters, they were able to stop the blaze from spreading.

Tangent Fire officials estimate the damage at$650,000 - $350,000 for the building and $300,000 for contents.

The cause still under investigation.

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