November 21, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
19°F
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UPDATE: Elyria Foundry catches fire

ELYRIA — Multiple fire departments worked to extinguish a blaze that started inside Elyria Foundry around 9:45 p.m. Friday.

Crews were still working after 1 a.m. today to put the fire out as smoke billowed from the building at 120 Filbert St.

Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka was on the scene during the night. While she didn’t know what started the fire, she said workers at the foundry were safely evacuated. A worker on the scene said no one was hurt during the incident.

Five fire departments — Elyria, Elyria Township, Sheffield, Avon and Lorain — set up a perimeter around the building, and roads were closed around 11:15 p.m. to clear the roads for rescue crews, Siwierka said. Several residents and workers from the foundry gathered on the roadways to watch rescue crews fight the blaze until police cleared the area around the same time.

Around 11:30 p.m., Siwierka said fire rescue crews were working to find the source of the fire. Shortly before that, there were reports of an explosion inside the building.

An official from the Elyria Fire Department could not be reached for comment.

This is not the first emergency incident involving the foundry.

In 2006, a fire inside the building caused an estimated $30,000 in damages. It started after workers pouring a mold accidentally ignited a nearby tank of isopropyl alcohol.

Firefighters knocked that fire out in five minutes after the fuel line was shut off.

A small fire started in 2008 when a hot ember sparked a blaze on the roof of Elyria Foundry. That fire burned itself out but caused a reported $40,000 in damages.

More recently, Elyria Foundry was fined by the Ohio Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a worker’s arm was caught in a machine in May 2011. The worker was reportedly trapped for a while before anyone heard him screaming for help.

OSHA cited the foundry for “confined spaces that were not designed for human occupancy” and a lack of safeguards on some of the machinery.

The most recent incident was reported in January after a worker was burned when a furnace exploded.

According to Elyria Foundry’s website, the facility makes iron castings primarily used for natural gas compression equipment and coal pulverizers for electrical generation.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.