A large fire burning at a hemp processing plant at the former Ahlberg onion cellar, 14410 G Road, was still active Wednesday — a day after it started a short distance west of the G Road and Confluence Drive intersection Tuesday, Nov. 2.
The cause is pending an investigation that cannot be completed until investigators can get inside the building, where the fire was at last report still burning.
Mike Ahlberg, who owned the property during its onion shed days, confirmed that he sold the property about a year ago. The current owner of the warehouse has not been determined at this time.
Shortly after the fire started, Delta County Sheriff Mark Taylor sent deputies to block traffic. The blaze, he said Tuesday evening, “looks pretty bad,” and was putting off black smoke. Deputies halted traffic on G Road at G-50 Road and the Confluence Drive bypass; Taylor said the fire was burning 2 miles west of the bypass.
As of around 11 a.m. Wednesday, Taylor confirmed that the warehouse fire was contained, but said it was not yet extinguished due to the size of the warehouse and material within it. Unlike the initial few hours, black smoke no longer rose into the sky from the blaze.
“The fire department said they’ll probably be out there the better part of a week, keeping an eye on it and knocking down any flames that start up,” Taylor said.
A press release from the Delta County Sheriff’s Office around midday on Wednesday reported that the warehouse, a metal building used for the processing of hemp, is approximately 29,000 square feet, all of which “was fully engulfed in flames.”
The fire is being managed by the Delta Fire Department with the aid of Cedaredge Fire Department, Paonia Fire Department and Olathe Spray Service.
“Four residences that were in close proximity to the fire were evacuated for their safety,” the press release said. “No other structures on the same property, or close by, received any fire damage, and there were no reported injuries.”
The press release reiterated that the fire will likely be active for several days. However, “the fire is under control and does not pose a threat to any neighboring structures. The evacuated residences were allowed to return home later yesterday evening.”
Lucas Vader is a staff writer for the Delta County Independent. Follow him on Twitter, @lucasrvader.