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The Salt Lake City Fire Department rushed to an industrial complex to extinguish a 2-alarm fire shortly before 7 a.m. on May 2. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the fire took place at the Deseret Industries complex in west Salt Lake. Five employees were inside the complex at the time and were safely evacuated without injury.
Onlookers gathered as more employees arrived to work, only to find 34 firefighters putting out the flames and smoke at the industrial building. The fire was put out by 8 a.m., at which time the fire department moved on to the task of clearing the building of smoke.
The cause of the blaze has not been confirmed and is currently under investigation, but Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman Jasen Asay told reporters that the fire began in a hopper that collects sawdust. Officials suspect the sawdust caught fire as a result of a spark off a piece of machinery.
Once the sawdust caught fire in the external hopper, smoke poured into the buildings through air ducts, setting off smoke detectors and industrial fire alarms.
Deseret Industries manufactures mattresses and other pieces of furniture for thrift stores owned by the Latter-day Saints (LDS) Church. Products made by Deseret Industries are sold at low prices to benefit job training and placement programs sponsored by the LDS Church.
Preventing industrial fires
In order to prevent industrial fires and other accidents, companies are expected to follow guidelines set out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), as well as state guidelines.
Having proper safety equipment is the first step toward preventing factory fires and decreasing the likelihood of workplace injuries. Depending on the company, different products are needed, but all factories and industrial sites should have proper fire alarms and toxic gas detectors.
Regular inspections should take place to make sure that fire codes are being met. The Government of Utah recommends- depending on the size of the company and the probability of incidents, industrial sites hold inspections monthly, weekly or even daily.
Emergency plans should also be prepared and taught to all employees. Fire drills should be held routinely to keep all employees ready for evacuation in case of fire.
Industrial Safety News brought to you by Safety Systems Technology, Inc., leaders in fire and gas detection systems.