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Identifying the cause of fire at grain processing plant

Grain drying fire investigation




About The Project

A grain processing company re-processed spent grain to improve its price for the stockfeed market. The plant suffered a longer than usual power failure that caused a large quantity of moist warm grain to stockpile inadvertently. By early the next morning, a fire started, which caused significant damage to the major process equipment item (the Main Fan) with minor smoke damage to the associated ducting and process units (Main Cyclone and Dryer). The plant was offline for over two months. CNF was brought on board to determine the cause of the incident.

CNF undertook a thorough site investigation, gathering evidence and interviewing key parties. This allowed us to pinpoint the cause of the fire as well as failures in the plant’s system and to provide a thorough briefing for the owner’s legal team.

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Major Achievements


  • Identified the cause of the fire.
  • Recreated the chronology of events
  • Identified the combination of factors that contributed to fire.
  • Identified key factors that caused damage to the plant.

Project Innovations

CNF was able to demonstrate, contrary to initial assumptions, that the failure of some fire sprinklers was not a contributing factor in the incident. Instead, CNF was able to demonstrate how other factors were responsible for the fire starting and then going out of control.

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