Engineer to inspect catwalk that caught fire at Nippon paper mill

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — A structural engineer was expected today (Friday) to start inspecting a wooden catwalk at the Nippon Paper USA paper mill that caught fire Thursday night.

Mill Manager Harold Norlund said this morning that Port Angeles Fire Department and Clallam County Fire District No. 2 crews were called at about 9 p.m. to a fire on a wooden catwalk running over several large water storage tanks on the north side of the mill on Ediz Hook.

The fire did not affect mill operations, which continued unimpeded this morning, Norlund said.

“The damage appears to be the top surface, not the structural part underneath,” Norlund said. “It’s actually not that serious.”

No injuries were reported.

Representatives of the fire departments were not immediately available for comment this morning.

Firefighters had left by about 11 p.m. after tamping down the fire, Norlund said.

Though an internal fire investigative report is forthcoming, Norlund said the pieces of the total 200-foot-long catwalk that were burned were touching a length of steam pipe that likely got too hot.

“The steam pipe got hotter than it should have, and it looks like the insulation that should have been there was not there,” Norlund said.

“That will be taken care of.”

The catwalk, which dates back to the 1970s, was structurally sound enough to be walked on while inspected, Norlund added.

The fire was not related to the new biomass upgrade at the plant.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at

Last modified: December 27. 2013 10:25AM
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