The 3D Idapro Solutions dehydration plant in Stanfield caught fire Wednesday night, injuring one employee, who was sent to Good Shepherd Medical Center for treatment. According to a press release by Umatilla County Fire District, the fire was started by an explosion in the “bag house,” but the cause of the explosion is still under investigation.
The plant has had at least two other fires in the past few months, including one in February that burned some of the facility’s scrubbers, or air purification equipment.
Residents have been complaining about the smell from the plant for the last several months. But last week, the complaints culminated in a heated city council meeting where the council directed the city manager to begin fining the plant for the smell, and to seek a court order for shutting the plant down.
The smell, which residents have said hurts their noses and makes it nearly impossible to sit outside, gets worse if the wind is blowing toward the town. Residents described it as a smell of rotting or burnt potatoes, and one even said it smells like “dead flesh.”
A representative for the Department of Environmental Quality said they had been in communication with the plant’s operators, who had been responsive to their requests for a plan to mitigate the odors.
But citizens are not convinced, and many are concerned about the history of the company, which has had a lawsuit brought against a factory it operates in Burley, Idaho.
Citizens were upset at the city manager, Blair Larsen, for not prohibiting the plant from coming into town in the first place.
But at the most recent council meeting, Larsen said he did not feel the city was legally allowed to prevent a business from opening there.
Attempts to reach 3D Idapro representatives were unsuccessful.
Fire Marshal Tom Bohm said in the latest fire, two of the scrubbers and bags were burned.
The plant is located at 405 Hoosier Lane in Stanfield.