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Fire sets off alarm at precious-metal facility

Posted on by SST

A two-alarm fire at a metal-based chemical manufacturing plant in Elkton, Md. tripped the fire alarm system and alerted authorities.

As reported by the Newark Post Online, nearly 60 firefighters from 15 fire companies – hailing from three different states – battled a blaze at the Colonial Metals manufacturing facility in the early morning of July 7. According to the State Fire Marshal's office, no employees were injured during the fire because the facility – located at 505 Blue  Ball Road in the Triumph Industrial Park – was closed. However, one firefighter sustained minor heat-related injuries and was transported to Union Hospital for treatment. Fred Hill, Singerly Fire Company chief, said he first received a call regarding the fire at 6:47 a.m.

Black smoke was billowing from the plant as firefighters arrived on the scene. Hill noted that he and his team could not see any flames until after entering the building. Due to the hazardous nature of the chemicals stored, the HAZMAT team was called in and arrived on the scene shortly after the firefighters. It took about an hour for first responders to contain the fire.

"It appears that the area has been contained," Hill said. "But, we are hosing off all the firefighters as they come out just as a precaution."

George Benvegno Sr., the president of Colonial Metals, said that this was the first fire at the facility in the 42 years it has been in operation. The fire alarm system installed in the facility automatically calls 911 and the owners. While the damage from the fire could be in the millions, the prompt response from firefighters as a result of the alarm system prevented any containers with hazardous materials from being compromised. 

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

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