MANCOS - Fire crews have contained a blaze that engulfed the Western Excelsior plant in Mancos on Monday afternoon.
About 9:40 a.m. Tuesday, the Montezuma County Health Department reported via its Facebook page that the fire had been contained, but the building would smolder for several days.
Western Excelsior employees will monitor the situation.
Montezuma County Emergency Manager Paul Hollar said fire crews contained the blaze in the early morning hours Tuesday. Crews were beginning to turn the scene over to Western Excelsior personnel as of 10 a.m., Hollar said.
"It's been knocked down to where it's not a risk to others," Hollar said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Hollar said. In the next few days, fire crews and plant personnel will monitor the scene to ensure that nothing reignites, he said.
There are still some fuels in the building, Hollar said. Rain moving through the region was expected to help dampen down the smoldering debris.
He did not offer an estimate on the cost of the damage, and said insurance investigators would visit the site in the coming days.
Mancos Fire Chief Tony Aspromonte said crews got the scene contained about 2 a.m. Tuesday.
The production room, warehouse and offices at the mill sustained the heaviest damage, Aspromonte said. There was no damage to the wood piles on the plant site or the trailer court across the street, he said.
The fire started just before 1 p.m. Monday at the plant, 901 W. Grand Ave. Western Excelsior workers were evacuated safely, fire officials at the scene said, and no injuries were reported. The company employees about 100 people.
Mancos fire crews started out attacking the fire in the building, but the wind picked up and forced them into a defensive mode, according to Aspromonte. They were forced to fight it from the outside.
Ten fire departments and 50 to 60 firefighters responded to the blaze, Aspromonte said.
The Cortez fire department sent an engine and a ladder truck. The Dolores fire department also sent an engine. Crews from Pleasant View, Towaoc, Lewis-Arriola, Fort Lewis, Rico, Los Pinos and San Juan County, New Mexico, and Farmington also worked the fire, according to Cortez Fire Chief Jeff Vandevoorde.
The American Red Cross was set up at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post, 136 W. Grand Ave. in downtown Mancos, according to the health department page.
The Red Cross is providing cleaning kits for people whose homes were affected by smoke. Those are available at Mancos Town Hall, 117 N. Main St.
The agency provided hotel vouchers that sent five displaced families to area hotels, Mancos Town Clerk Heather Alvarez said. The Red Cross also is providing respirators and water, according to Mancos town officials.
Alvarez said she wasn't sure if the families would return to their homes today. The town will be available to help people in need, she said. Town officials also are offering any help they can to Western Excelsior, Alvarez said.
"They are very important to the community," she said.
Several area businesses have offered to help the company with arrangements such as unemployment moving forward, she said.
Hollar applauded the efforts of all involved.
"Everyone came together like they were supposed to," he said.
Journal reporters Jacob Klopfenstein and Stephanie Alderton, and Herald reporter Shane Benjamin contributed to this article.