Enumclaw Fire: Methane Plant Cause of Flames Seen off State Route 164

Farm Power Northwest's newest manure digester facility is ramping up but before the electrical generator begins running, intermittent flames caused by the burning of excess methane build up is normal, said Capt. Randy Fehr.

Enumclaw dispatchers have received multiple calls from residents since Sunday evening reporting a possible house or barn fire in the area of 208th Avenue S.E. and S.E. 436th Street, but the flames they're seeing are completely normal, said fire officials.

Enumclaw fire Capt. Randy Fehr indicated the flames were a product of excess methane gas being burned intermittently through a ventilation pipe on the roof of what is the newest cow manure digester facility by Farm Power Northwest.

This primarily occurs when the methane gas is not being consumed by the electrical generator at the facility, Fehr said. Kevin Maas, of Farm Power Northwest further confirmed for Fehr the flames were normal and would occur less frequently as the generator runs more regularly and the plant becomes more efficient.

"We appreciate that people are vigilant," Fehr said, "but we don't want them to be alarmed in this case. However if you feel that it is an emergency, please do call us."

The groundbreaking for the facility took place about a year ago - you can read about that here. Maas told Patch that the facility was in start-up phase right now, which means it is producing the biogas but the methane has not been put to the generator yet to make electricity.

"The flares are a good sign," Maas said. "It shows we have energy now and we can get ready to run and make electricity."

The company expects to receive approval from Puget Sound Energy to begin delivering power as early as Monday, he said.

See how the plant works: 



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