At 9:03 pm, Portland Fire Rescue responded to reports of a commercial fire at 9710 NE Glass Plant Rd. - the Owens Illinois glass container manufacturing plant. The plant houses four large kettles where recycled glass is melted to make new glass containers such as beer and wine bottles. Today, only two glass kettles were in use - one for clear glass and one for amber glass. The amber glass kettle was holding over 200 tons of molten glass when the kettle split at the bottom. The molten glass inside the kettle began oozing into the containment area below the tank. Responding firefighters immediately began pulling hose lines and spraying water on the kettle and areas around the kettle where the molten glass was spilling to cool them.
At 9:51 pm, the Incident Commander called for a 2nd alarm bringing additional firefighters and resources to the scene. Additional firefighters were needed to pull more hose lines, surround the kettle on the first and second levels of the plant, and protect the structure and surrounding machinery.
Firefighters are continuing to cool the kettle and areas around it where molten glass spilled. It will take several hours for the tank and its contents to cool. Firefighters will remain on scene throughout the night to ensure this process occurs slowly and completely. There were no reported injuries.
Photos by Dick Harris
Written by Portland Fire