Industrial fire prompts chemical clean-up

Industrial fire at Alpine Metal Finishing. (WDTN Photo)
Industrial fire at Alpine Metal Finishing. (WDTN Photo)

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WDTN) – The Friday night fire on Drill Ave was tough to battle. Crews didn’t even use water directly on it because of the chemicals inside the building.

Once the flames started flying out of the Alpine Metal Finishing building, the Environmental Protection Agency was called in.

“Some sulfates, dip tanks, caustic liquids and there were also some acids in there. Some sulfuric there were also some hydro choleric acids and a little bit of nitric acid in there also,” said Chief Mark Lynch with the Harrison Township Fire Department.

Alpine Metal Finishing does paint application which involves stripping metal in dip tanks using these chemicals.

The problem is they are right next to this aquifer which holds city drinking water.

“We don’t want it seeping into the ground and contaminating our water table,” said Chief Lynch.

The EPA made sure a clean-up crew was brought in for the initial emergency response.

“They have removed some water from a retention pond that we built in from run off from the water lines that were broken indside the building and some tanks and totes that were leaking corrosive materials,” said Chief Lynch.

Chief Lynch believes the water will be safe but we wanted to know what kind of precautions businesses like this have to go through.

Natalie: “Facilities like this. They have to have inspections right?”

Chief: “Yes”

Natalie: “What kind of inspections?”

Chief: “Uh, fire safety inspections and we come in here and inspect this facility once a year.”

Natalie: “Was the last one completed?”

Chief: “yes.”

Chief Lynch said they make sure all chemicals are properly stored and there are no visible fire hazards.

I also asked the Chief Operating Officer of Alpine Jeff Davis about it. He said his business is up-to-date with all the appropriate inspections.

2 NEWS found this isn’t the first fire that Alpine has had. They had another one in a different building three years ago.

“That fire, if my memory serves me correctly was a spontaneous combustion fire. It was from a paint booth operation that had accumulated paint and debris that had caught fire,” said Chief Lynch.

It’s still unclear what caused this one, but Davis tells us all of his 35 employees are returning to work Monday at one of their other buildings.

The emergency response part of that clean up is completed but there are still chemicals in and outside the building that caught fire. Chief Lynch said Alpine will need to contract with a clean-up crew to take care of those chemicals.
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