Safety Director: Weather played role in containing Ellwood City fire, no evacuations

Safety Director: Weather played role in containing Ellwood City fire, no evacuations

ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. (WYTV) – The fire at the Inmetico plant in Ellwood City that kept firefighters busy all day Sunday is completely out. There were no rekindles of the fire since late Sunday night.

At the height of the fire, flames and smoke were shooting into the air and multiple explosions occurred. One witness said projectiles were flying through the air.

According to a 2012 Emergency Response Guide issued to fire departments, isolation and evacuation guidelines for a fire involving lithium batteries includes at least a half mile radius. The Inmetico plant recycles metals, including lithium batteries.

Lawrence County Director of Public Safety Brian Melcer said Monday the weather played a big role in keeping them from issuing an evacuation order for the nearby area. He said the winds were light Sunday and any hazardous material or toxic fumes were contained to the site.

Inmetco workers continue to keep watch on hot spots at the site of the fire to make sure they are no rekindles.

The fire at the plant located at 1 Inmetco Drive, broke out about 9 a.m. Sunday. Firefighters were on the scene until about 5 p.m. battling the raging flames and smoke.

Employees were in the plant when the fire broke but none of them were injured. Four firefighters sustained chemical burns to their hands.

Investigators said the fire may have started inside a steel drum and spread to the rest of the building, but a cause for the fire has not been determined.

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