Riley’s Brewing goes up in flames


For The Madera Tribune

Fire sweeps toward a crane at Riley’s Brewing on Tuesday night. The brewery was destroyed.

 

The popular Riley’s Brewing beer warehouse went up in flames and the entire warehouse was burned.


Riley’s Brewing, owned by Dan Riley, will be a total loss, according to Riley. The fire took out his warehouse, where he stores and makes the beer, and two silos filled with ethanol.


The fire occurred Tuesday evening and more than a dozen trucks battled the fire for about 8-and-a-half hours.


“A little after 8 p.m, we were dispatched to a commercial structure fire in the area at 15 1/2 and Road 29,” said Andrew Overbay, Madera County Cal Fire Battalion Fire Chief.


“Upon arrival, crews witnessed a commercial warehouse-type structure fully engulfed in fire,” he said.


Overbay said there were two silos that contained about 20,000 gallons, later to found out to be ethanol, in danger.


“Crews attempted to protect the silos and other facilities,” he said. “The fire fully engulfed the warehouse and there was no saving any of the structure and its contents. We tried to keep the fire from the silos and the neighboring shops and equipment.”


However, the heat of the fire reached a temperature where the ethanol gas went through the venting caps and blew one of the tops of the silos off.


“With the result of that, the ethanol burned and the surrounding equipment and materials were burned.” Overbay said. “We were able to save the neighboring structures next to the building.”


A dozen fire trucks, ranging from engines, water tenders and ladder trucks, battled the blaze. There were two battalion chiefs and a division chief on hand.


“We had resources from the Cal Fire Master Mutual Aid Agreement from up in the mountains,” Overbay said. “We actually had crews from San Diego that were covering our local mountains due to the Oak Fire. They came down here to fight a structure fire. That doesn’t happen very often. That shows how the Master Mutual Aid Agreement works.”


Overbay said there were crews from Madera County, City of Madera, Merced County and North Central Fire battling the fire.

“We were cooperating with the Madera County Sheriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol, as well,” Overbay said.


Overbay said there are still crews at Riley’s Brewing to contain the fire in the silos, which will take a couple of days to burn off.

The fire was an equivalent to a three-alarm fire and trucks from around Madera came to fight the blaze.


“We didn’t do it in alarms, but we had that set up,” he said. “What we do in the county is augment based on our needs.We pick and choose what we need rather than sending out an additional alarm, which has a present amount of personnel to it. We had engines from North Fork and Merced County here. All of Madera County and two out of the three stations in the City of Madera were here. We had to backfill from further out for departments to fill the void left behind.”


A dollar amount to the damage hasn’t been established as of press time. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.