Superior Fire Uses ‘Purple K’ Unit to Fight Equipment Fire at Graymont Saturday

No one was hurt from the fire, and fire officials say that's due in large part to the Purple K Dry Foam unit.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- A fire at Superior’s Graymont facility Saturday night kept firefighters busy for more than two hours.

The call came in about 20 minutes before midnight. Superior firefighters who were off-duty at the time needed to be called in to cover any possible calls elsewhere in the city that night.

Crews needed to use a lift to reach the fire. Photo: Camron Vollbrecht

According to officials, the fire involved a “combustible liquid” inside a part of the facility’s equipment — meaning water could’ve made it worse.

So they used the Department’s industrial firefighting “Purple K” unit.

It sprays a dry foam chemical similar to a regular fire extinguisher. But the equipment is much heavier at 500 pounds, with a long hose to keep firefighters a safe distance away.

No one was hurt from the fire, and officials said that’s due in large part to the Purple K unit, which comes from a partnership with Cenovus Energy.

“Last night would’ve been extremely difficult dragging up a dozen handheld extinguishers to do the job of one thing here,” said Battalion Chief Camron Vollbrecht, recounting how crews needed a lift to reach the fire.

“Safer for our firefighters, they were able to use a hose from far away as opposed to being up close with an extinguisher,” he said.

According to Vollbrecht, if you’re using equipment which contains a combustible liquid at home (like a lawn mower), make sure you let it cool down before refueling.

He said Graymont’s equipment didn’t suffer from severe damage and it was just a lubricating oil that had burned. The facility was back open and running Sunday.

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