August 20, 2014

Elyria
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No one hurt in fire at Elyria Foundry

Elyria fire, police and medical personnel respond to a fire at the Elyria Foundry Wednesday evening on Filbert Avenue in Elyria. ANNA NORRIS/CHRONICLE

Elyria fire, police and medical personnel respond to a fire at the Elyria Foundry Wednesday evening on Filbert Avenue in Elyria. ANNA NORRIS/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — The cause of a fire at the Elyria Foundry Co., is under investigation.

Firefighters remained at the foundry late Wednesday extinguishing hot spots, according to radio transmissions. The fire was called in about 4:15 p.m. Wednesday by an off-duty firefighter driving by the plant at 120 Filbert St., off Gateway Boulevard, according to Fire Chief Rich Benton. Benton said the firefighter spotted smoke from the plant, which was closed for Christmas, and called the Fire Department shortly before plant personnel called 911.

Benton and Henry Lee, Foundry chief operating officer, said no one was hurt in the fire. Lee, reached by phone after the fire, said damage was minimal, but didn’t have a cost estimate. The plant is closed until Jan. 6.

Benton said the fire may have started around a conveyor belt that hauls sand for molds. Lee said the belt is in an approximately 100,000-square foot building called the South Foundry — on the south side of Filbert — that houses six furnaces. The 30-acre plant, founded in 1905, makes iron castings from 50 to 10,000 pounds. They are primarily used for natural gas compression equipment and coal pulverizers for electrical generation.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Elyria firefighters, assisted by Carlisle Township and Lorain firefighters, appeared to have the fire contained. Several firefighters manning a hose entered the South Foundry where flames were visible inside. About 30 yards west, a firefighter with a hose on his right shoulder climbed an approximately 15-foot ladder and sprayed water through a window into the roughly 70-foot high building.

Benton said firefighters had to stay out of the building until Columbia Gas workers could shut off natural gas to lines about 40 feet high on the three-story building just before 6 p.m. Because the foundry furnaces were off, firefighters didn’t have to worry about water getting on the furnaces and causing an explosion.

Firefighters are familiar with the foundry. A fire in November 2012 caused between $5 million and $10 million in damage, according to the department. An explosion and fire in January 2012, caused non-life threatening injuries to a worker.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

  • Joe Sandor

    This is getting ridiculous !!! There have been several fires at the foundry and the fire dept doesn’t seem to assist in prevention. I have run foundries for over 30-years-in-5-states and the ONLY SINGLE fire we had was when an employee put tin foil into a microwave and the microwave caught fire (no damage to the room). Someone needs to show these folks how to run A SAFE foundry.

    • Chica

      maybe you should show them. by what you say you seem to know what you are doing and have an outstanding track record. how do you prevent something that is unforeseen? how is it the fire dept’s responsibility? maybe they should follow OSHAs instructions from the past. just glad no one was injured! WTG EFD!!!!

      • Joe Sandor

        “. . .How do you prevent . . .?” Simply that. If quality system procedures/controls are adequate and monitored, bad things don’t happen.

        “. . . fire dept responsibility . . .” The fire dept has the right to perform audits and demand specific actions.

        “. . . you should show them. . .” A far as showing them, they need to ask for help; but this is something they are reticent to do (per employees I know).

        “. . . OSHA instructions from the past . . .” Maybe. However, although OSHA can demand changes, but it is up to the indindividual firm to decide upon the changes and how to implement them.