Explosion at Hermiston food plant injured at least 6 people, generates massive plume of smoke & closes roads

HERMISTON, Ore. — Firefighters, first responders, and officers are responding to Shearer’s Foods off Highway 207 in Hermiston, where employees reported a major boiler explosion that sent heavy plumes of dark smoke into the air surrounding Umatilla County on Tuesday afternoon.

According to a social media alert from the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, authorities are expecting several injuries as a result of the explosion.

UPDATE at 3:45 p.m. on 2/22/22: USCO confirms at least two people were injured in the explosion. They were both transported to Good Shepherd Hospital in Hermiston.

Initial investigations suggest that a portable boiler fueled by Natural Gas exploded, causing the widescale fire. Umatilla County Fire District No. 1 has requested mutual aid from surrounding fire agencies and established a command base nearby.

UPDATE at 5:45 p.m. on 2/22/22: The number of people confirmed to be injured in the Hermiston food plant explosion on Tuesday afternoon is six, according to local authorities.

KAPP KVEW’s Ellie Nakamoto-White spoke to Nickolas Oatley of Umatilla County Fire District No. 1, who confirmed the injury count as of Tuesday evening. He expects firefighters to be on the scene through the night at crews work to contain the spread of these flames.

Thankfully, the wind blowing to the south helped to prevent the total loss of most structures. Unfortunately, one of the facilities on the property has been deemed a total loss.

Firefighters from across the region are on the scene as part of a mutual aid agreement. However, Oatley warns that the area is to be avoided through the rest of the night.

Community members in the immediate area, including residents from PanelView RV Park and occupants of the Space Age and Comfort Inn, were placed on standby for evacuation.

Potential evacuations would be issued due to a rapid drop in air quality as heavy, black plumes of smoke emerge from the area.

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) issued an emergency closure of Highway 207 between Feedville Road and the Space Age truck stop, which is near Exit 182.

Authorities contacted Union Pacific Railroad so they can close traffic at the rail line, which is located nearby to the food plant.

Please be advised that all people—including residents, commuters, and everyone in between—are advised to avoid the area of this fire; located at 78035 OR-207 in Hermiston.

Beyond the aforementioned agencies, the following officials are responding to the explosion: Oregon State Police, Hermiston Police Department, Stanfield Police Department, and Umatilla County Emergency Management.

This is a breaking news story. An update and/or follow-up will be issued once further details are revealed.


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