By Ralph Woodall
It was just about noon on Monday, Oct. 2, 2006, when
fire alarms went off at the neighboring dealer’s hop warehouse in
A quick call to 911 and early response by the Yakima
Fire Department, as well as numerous surrounding area fire departments,
helped maintain the fire to a single hop warehouse that was being leased
by another Yakima-area hop dealer.
The cause of the fire was determined to be
spontaneous combustions, which are very common with the super alpha
varieties. The Yakima Herald Republic reported the loss at an estimated
4 to 5 million dollars in value with an estimated loss in hops of about
10,000 bales, or 2,000,000 million pounds of mostly super alpha hops (CTZ).
Although the hop loss represented 4% of the new crop,
with the higher alpha variety loss it was much greater, causing
shortages in hop inventories this fall and increases in price and short
supplies of CTZs.
Hopunion Owner/GM, Ralph Olson, was thankful, saying,
"Hopunion was spared any loss other than a delay in the pellet plant
processing for about 10 days to allow the clean up and removal of the
destroyed hops and building."
He added, "It was disturbing to watch the fire and we
feared the worst as our warehouse and pellet plant were threatened by
the fire. The YFD did an excellent job and saved us from any loss."
The cold storage hop warehouses are air tight, so any
of the smoke from the nearby fire was kept out of the warehouses that
were full of the fresh 2006 harvest. The delay had put Hopunion behind
in processing so a second shift was added to keep up with brewers’
demand for the new crop.
Everyone’s patience and understanding is appreciated as we get past
the disturbing situation.