August 29, 2014

Elyria
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Republic fire damage estimated in ‘millions’

LORAIN — A fire that broke out at a Lorain steel mill lasted for more than an hour, caused millions of dollars of damage and sent five people to the hospital Saturday afternoon.

Around 2:20 p.m. Lorain firefighters responded to a call at Republic Steel, 1807 E. 28th St., in Lorain for a fire that had broken out in the new electric arc furnace room in the mill, according to Lorain fire Capt. Tom Baker. Due to the severity of the fire, four additional departments were called, including Elyria, Sheffield and Elyria and Sheffield townships. Additionally Lorain County Water Shuttle arrived to provide water for firefighters.

According to LifeCare Vice President Herb de la Porte, five people were transported to Mercy Regional Medical Center following the fire.

One person had first-degree burns and three had smoke inhalation, but all injuries were minor, Baker said.

The Lorain Fire Department is unsure about the cause of the fire, but Baker said that at some point, a failure occurred in an oxygen supply pipe in the recently built furnace room. The failure caused a fire inside the pipe, he said.

“It was basically like a blow torch,” Baker said, adding that fire was blown through multiple floors in the building. “It was a high amount of flame.”

Firefighters were able to put out the fire about 3:30 p.m. after removing all workers from the building.

Baker said that he doesn’t know yet how much damage the fire caused, but it is “in the millions.”

The area that the fire affected the most was a recently built area associated with the company’s $85 million project that was finished in November.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.