Hazmat team responds to fires at metal recycling plant in Bourbon

Hazmat team responds to reported fire at business in Bourbon. // WSBT 22 photo

A fire had to be treated a little different Thursday.

Bourbon firefighters dealt with a fire at a metal recycling plant. They couldn't spray water directly on the fire.

Fire crews were called to the OmniSource Metals Recycling Plant on Elm Road a little before 9 a.m. Thursday.

Several bins holding certain types of metals were on fire inside the building.

“When I arrived, I went inside the building and ended up having three separate fires in bin one, bin four and the bag house,” said Chief Mike Chapman, Bourbon Fire. “They were using a cast iron blend, which 98 and a half percent was cast iron, silicon, and carbon.”

It included a very small amount of titanium and aluminum. It’s not the type of fire they're used to fighting.

Because of the nature of the fire and what they were dealing with, they called in the hazmat team from the South Bend Fire Department to get their expertise on the best way to go about handling this situation.

Initially they chose not to spray water on the fire and worked with the South Bend hazmat crew to figure out what to do.

“Did not until I got hazmat here to absolutely give me some direction. This is the first time we've had this involved fire scene,” said Chapman.

Initially the bins were sealed off and left to burn. Then a plan of attack was developed.

“We've formulated plans,” said Chapman. “We went in, the bag house is almost done. We're emptying bin one and bin four, manually. It’s the only way to get rid of the fire inside.”

There is no word yet on a cause.

“We're still under investigation right now as to what happened,” said Chapman. “There’s no hot process here and until I have that answer. I really don't have a good answer now.”

Crews were on the scene until late Thursday afternoon to make sure the fire was out and the scene was safe.

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