FIRE DANGER IN OATMEAL MILLS
Fires in oatmeal mills are so common as to render such structures very unsatisfactory risks from an underwriter standpoint. The reason for this is their defective construction. The material is discharged from the shelling and grinding machine, which, with its cups, forms a fan, but immediately goes into a feeder—dust and all—and, as the material is thoroughly dried before it goes to the reduction appliances, no moisture is disengaged in the process, as is the case when wheat goes to stones or rolls. Hence,the dust could not be in a better condition for rapid combustion, which is the same thing as explosion. At the same time the dust of oatmeal is in itself no more inflammable than that of any other cereal: it is simply made so by the artificial drying of the grain. The consequence is that, if any hard foreign body, such, for instance, as a fragment of metal were to find its way into the machinery by any accident, fire would be struck, an explosion would ensue, and considerable damage would be done. This, of course, could be avoided if the grain were dampened before going to the degerminator. The real point of danger is the drier.