NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Some 180 employees of Beckett Gas were evacuated for a short time Thursday afternoon when a fire broke out behind a trash compactor.
Damage was negligible in the area near the fire, which was put out within a matter of minutes by North Ridgeville firefighters, according to Lt. Ron Schuler.
“We had it out very quickly but kept putting water on it because it was in an out-ofthe- way location and we couldn’t see it,” Schuler said.
No one was injured during the incident, which saw workers evacuated as a precaution.
“The entire building including the front office was evacuated for about an hour,” said Wayne Walker, vice president for finances and administration of the Race Road facility.
The plant manufactures gas burners for residential appliances including furnaces, water heaters and fireplace inserts.
“There was some smoke that the wind blew inside, and we had to turn on vents to make certain we got all of it out. Then everyone went back to work,” Walker said.
A pair of ladder trucks and seven firefighters were called to the plant at 12:36 p.m. where they found an amount of cardboard burning and smoking in a corner between the 20-foot-long compactor and a rear outside wall of the plant.
“There were some pieces of cardboard that hadn’t made it into the dumpster or which had fallen out,” Schuler said. “There’s no actual heat source or any type of accelerant in that area so we were unable to determine exactly what started it.”
The brief fire produced little actual flames but did generate a lot of smoke, according to Schuler. “That’s what could be seen by anyone working in the area or driving by.”
Because the business makes use of oxygen tanks and other materials that could pose a hazard when fire breaks out, firefighters continued to drench the area around the compactor with water lafter the fire was extinguished, Schuler said.
Due to the lack of a fire hydrant in the area, firefighters used water provided by the Beckett to extinguish the fire, Schuler added.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.