Safety Plan Works in Plant Fire

Thursday, July 2, 2015 @ 02:07 PM gHale

Fearing a hazardous materials situation during a fire at a finishing plant in Canton, OH, firefighters were able to contain a blaze and send in the Stark County HazMat team.

About four or five employees were working in the upper portion of the 12,000-square-foot United Surface Finishing plant when the fire broke out at the other end of the plant around 5:30 a.m. last Thursday, said Lawrence Dalesio, midnight shift supervisor.

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Dalesio said he noticed the blaze and called firefighters.

Summoned to what came in as an industrial commercial fire at 2315 Ellis Ave. NE just off Mahoning Road, firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the south side of the structure with fire in the center of the building, Chief Stephen J. Rich said.

Capt. Carl Jordan, acting battalion chief for the Canton Fire Department, said at the scene earlier Thursday morning firefighters learned “there were possibly some hazardous materials inside.”

“So we set up a perimeter (and) applied water to the best of our ability from the outside,” he said. “We did manage to gain entry when absolutely necessary. We contained the fire to probably a 30-by-30 area and sent for HazMat.”

Jordan said the fire was contained to the rear portion of the plant.

“There was a little structural damage, however, to the area directly over the fire itself,” Jordan said. “The roof has been compromised.”

Plant workers do chrome- and nickel-plating at the facility and use “a fairly serious product,” said Battalion Chief Thomas Garra, who leads the HazMat Unit.

Jordan said the plant has a large container of material and firefighters were trying to determine how full it had been prior to the fire.

Garra said a problem would exist if nickel combined with 100 percent nitric acid. One of the tanks released a product and HazMat members suited up to go into the plant and check it out.

There were no injuries in the blaze. Garra said there were no evacuations for the area. “The product is contained to the building,” he said.

Firefighters were working to determine the cause.