Forney, Terrell firefighters extinguish fire at Smurfit Kappa


FORNEY, Texas — Firefighters from Forney and Terrell extinguished a fire at the Smurfit Kappa paper mill on Friday night.

The fire was reported at approximately 5:25 p.m. at the paper mill which is located at 855 East U.S. Highway 80 — across from Forney’s antique row.

Embers from a boiler at the plant’s wood-fired biomass boiler, which powers portions of Smurfit Kappa’s operations, caused wood chips on a feed conveyor belt to ignite, according to fire officials.

The Forney Fire Department, upon arrival, reported heavy smoke coming from the building which houses the wood-fire biomass boiler. The Terrell Fire Department was requested for mutual aid and the Sunnyvale Fire Department was requested for station standby in case any other calls were received in the city.

Firefighters extinguished the initial fire and worked to gain access to an enclosed wood-chip chute where the fire continued to smolder. On-site employees assisted firefighters in gaining access to the chute by removing metal panels from the chute surround.

Just after 7 p.m., fire officials say the Terrell Fire Department was relieved and operations at the plant were expected to continue shortly.

No injuries were reported in the incident. A CareFlite ambulance was on standby at the scene.

In 2012, Smurfit Kappa acquired Orange County Container Group, which operated the Forney mill, among other facilities in the United States and Mexico. At the time, approximately 30 percent of the facility’s electricity needs were generated on site. Additionally, the wood chips used to fire the boiler are recycled wood products purchased from third party companies.