Rubber Dust Fire Damages IL Plant

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 @ 03:02 PM gHale

A dust collector fire at the Chicago Manifold Products manufacturing facility in Wheeling, IL Wednesday morning caused an estimated $25,000 to $30,000 in damages, officials said.

The blaze ended up limited to the site’s dust collection equipment, used in the production of rubber products, behind the facility. The dust collector connects to the building through metal vents, said Wheeling Fire Chief Keith MacIsaac.

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The equipment contains dust from the production of rubber products from the business, which ends up suctioned from the building into the machines. As the dust material is very fine, it tends to be highly combustible, MacIsaac said.

He said dust collection equipment is “very common in the industrial environment” and prevents dust from releasing into the air outside factories. Fires related to the equipment are not common, but MacIsaac said the Wheeling Fire Dept. has battled them before.

Smoke from burning rubber travelled through the ducts and into the building when firefighters arrived at the scene.

There were no injuries in the incident, but workers followed safety procedures and evacuated the facility.

Firefighters put out the fire quickly, but worked for an hour to clear the building of the smoke, MacIsaac said.

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