Oregon explosion: Six hurt in blast at Shearer’s Foods facility near Hermiston

Six people have been hurt after an explosion at a potato chip factory near Hermiston, Oregon that closed a railway line sent a huge pillar of black smoke billowing into the sky.

Firefighters in Umatilla County said they were called to the Shearer’s Foods plant off Highway 207 at 12.51pm local time on Tuesday after employees reported that a portable natural gas boiler had blown up.

Homes to the south of the smoke plume and a Comfort Inn hotel were evacuated, while the nearby Union Pacific railway line was told to shut down traffic.

The county fire department said six people were taken to the Good Shepherd Medical Center with injuries.

“This is the largest fire our District has seen in the last decade,” the department said. “There were roughly 60 firefighters working together on this fire.”

The local sheriff’s department said that firefighters were called to Shearer’s Foods off Highway 207 after employees reported a boiler explosion with “possible injuries”.

Photos and videos from the scene showed fires burning and a huge smoke plume coming out of the low flat building, visible for miles around.

Shearer’s Foods is a food company based in Ohio that makes potato chips, corn chips, popcorn, biscuits, and various other snacks. According to its website, it has 12 plants across the US.

Hermiston’s city manager Byron Smith told Washington-state-based The Tri-City Herald that the plant was severely damaged.

“It looks like everything is indicating that it is going to be a big…

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