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Aluminum plant fire starts in oven

Posted on by SST

Operations quickly resumed after a fire broke out at the Aleris Aluminum Recycling plant Oct. 24 in Elyria, Ohio, reported the Chronicle-Telegram. 

The fire, which started around 11:51 a.m. at the 320 Huron St. recycling facility, is suspected to have started in a processing oven, however the cause is still under investigation according to Ron Brlas, assistant fire chief for the Elyria fire department. Emergency crews responded approximately four minutes later and were able to have the fire controlled using fire suppression tactics within 10 minutes, allowing workers to reopen and continue operations at the plant. 

Shannon Bennett, spokeswoman for Aleris, stated damage was minor and no injuries were reported. 

While the fire's exact cause remains unknown, the flames are believed to have originated from an oven used to process metal shavings in the southeast corner of the building. 

Industrial oven safety systems
The National Fire Protection Association states the implementation of a number of industrial fire safety systems including a sprinkler, carbon dioxide protection, fire extinguisher and dry chemical system is on par with general fire safety processes and facilities may have stricter guidelines depending on the complexity of the facility and hazardous materials inside.

Sprinkler systems provide especially prudent protection to industrial ovens that reach over 625 degrees, according to the fire safety code. 

In addition to water supply systems, the NFPA recommends oxygen safety devices such as an oxygen sensor in order to detect and alert workers of a shift in oxygen levels as an added level of protection due to toxic gases that can be emitted from industrial ovens during a misfire. 

Similarly, both the pilot and main burners for ovens are required to be equipped with a flame detector, either independently or one for each burner. A switch is highly encouraged to manually shut off entire facility operating systems as a safeguard. 

Aleris Aluminum Recycling
According to the company's website, the Elyria plant received the CEO Safety Excellence Award in 2009. Aleris has been operating globally since 1984 in the steel-manufacturing industry. The plant focuses primarily on shredding and processing scrap metal, such as aluminum, to cultivate product then shipped to customers based in North America. Their products are used in other manufacturing plants as deoxidizers, which are machines used to remove oxygen byproduct from metals. 

Industrial Safety News brought to you by Safety Systems Technology, Inc., leaders in fire and gas detection.

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