EUGENE, Ore. — A pile of metal is all that’s left of a Eugene landscaping packaging plant. The Rexius plant burned to the ground overnight.
Firefighters worked for a couple of hours trying to put the fire out overnight. At one point though, the fire was a very hot, massive ball of fire.
Neighbor Gary Wagoner grabbed his cell phone to call 911 and then began capturing video with it.
“At the time I was calling them the roof exploded off the top of the building,” Wagoner said.
Fire crews starting arriving on scene and quickly realized the building fire at the Rexius packaging plant wasn’t going to be easy to put out.
“It was a big fire we were able to get some fire trucks in the air and put some water down and get ham lines down on the ground and crews worked hard to knock the fire down,” said Lance Lighty, Eugene Fire Department Battalion Chief.
“It was a pretty hot fire. At one time when it exploded, I could actually feel the percussion come off of it, and I was probably a 150 yards away from it,” Wagoner said.
Finally after a couple of hours all the hot spots were out, and by daylight just puddles and piles of steel. Rexius President Rusty Rexius says luckily the company just moved most of the contents out of the building into its new facility in Coburg.
“Our offices across the street are fine, in fact, remarkably contained. The equipment right next door was not damaged, so we are very fortunate,” Rexius said.
Eugene fire says crews working with cutting torches to dismantle the building likely left something smoldering when they went home for the night, and it grew.
“There was some bag inventory that was in there, a couple of pieces of the equipment, a little bit of packaging apparatus,” Rexius said.
No one was injured in the fire and Rexius is still open for business.
“So my sense was could have been a lot worse, let’s make the best of it and get through it,” Rexius said.
Rexius says a number of years ago there was another fire there at one of the adjoining buildings.