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A massive fire that raged for hours in Willoughby, Ohio on May 18 remains under investigation. The fire took place at an industrial site located at 3911 Ben Hur Avenue. Crews reported to the scene at 9:46 p.m. and continued efforts to extinguish the flames until approximately 3 p.m. the next day.
The incident is under investigation and the cause of the fire is still unknown. Thick smoke filled the air while flames shot several stories into the air, causing power outages in the area, local Willoughby ABC affiliate News Channel 5 reported. Ben Hur Avenue and other nearby streets were closed during this time, as the blaze was unstable and could have caused damage to cars or injuries to local residents.
Nine fire departments responded to the fire, including crews from Eastlake, Euclid, Mentor on the Lack and Willowick. The fire caused significant damage to the warehouse. Willoughby Fire Chief Al Zwegat estimated that approximately 80 percent of the structure burned to the ground.
Financial losses from the warehouse fire are estimated at approximately $375,000, $175,000 of which accounts for property loss, and $200,000 for the contents of the structure.
No injuries were reported.
Warehouse fire safety
Industrial accidents are unfortunately common throughout the United States and across the world, as there are inherent dangers in working in warehouses and plants. Dangerous substances used in manufacturing processes are widely used, and so employee protection is not always a simple task.
Fire safety should be a top priority for business owners and warehouse managers. Industrial fire alarms should always be put in place to alert anyone on the premises of imminent danger, so that the flames can be quickly extinguished by local fire departments, which should be called immediately in an emergency. For warehouses that utilize explosive materials, combustible gas leak detectors are essential to ensuring the safety of all workers.
Fire safety plans should be put in place and all staff members should know evacuation procedures in case of an emergency. Fire exit doors should be clearly marked and easily accessible, and perhaps most importantly, emergency exit doors should never be obstructed by supplies or other objects that could delay employee evacuation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires every workplace to have enough exits to evacuate all employees swiftly.
Industrial Safety News brought to you by Safety Systems Technology, Inc., leaders in fire and gas detection systems.