SPRINGFIELD, OR - Fire raged through a mill at Springfield Plywood and Veneer July 18, leaving an uncertain future for the 33-acre site operated by Swanson Group Mfg., Glendale, OR.

The fire destroyed machinery and stacks of plywood and lumber that dotted the 200,000 square-foot facility. All employees were accounted for following an evacuation of the facility, officials said.

The source was reportedly a large veneer dryer in the finish yard, although no official cause was confirmed. The dryer caught fire, which ignited airborne debris and then quickly spread to other parts of the mill, according to a report in The Register Guard newspaper. The fire caused boilers, propane tanks and tanks containing glue used for plywood and veneer to explode.

The fire spread to other buildings in the complex, but those were extinguished, fire officials said. Floating debris that was ignited in the blaze may have been the source for spot fires in nearby wooded areas, which were extinguished. Fire officials said the fire in the mill's finish yard could smolder for days before it is fully extinguished.

Financial damages for the loss of the mill and its operations have not yet been estimated.

The family-owned Swanson Group operates four wood mills across Oregon. Swanson purchased the Springfield mill from McKenzie Forest Products.

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