New Castle News

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October 30, 2012

Inmetco fire’s cause undetermined

NEW CASTLE — The cause of a fire at the Inmetco plant in Ellwood City is undetermined.

Ali Alavi, senior vice president of corporate affairs for the firm, said Monday the fire appears to have started in the raw material staging area where the company blends materials.

Inmetco recycles metals and batteries.

The fire damaged the roof, he said, hindering the company’s ability to determine a cause.

“It poses some safety concerns,” Alavi said, adding the company has to assess the situation “before we proceed with a further investigation.”

No injuries occurred as a result of the blaze. Inmetco has about 100 employees, but Alavi said not all of them were working at the time of Sunday night’s fire.

“From what we can tell, our main operating equipment appears to be in good shape,” he said.

The timing of the fire was somewhat fortuitous for the firm. Alavi said the company was going to halt operations this week for its “annual outage.”

Ellwood City Fire Chief Rick Myers said the blaze posed “no threat to the community.”

Firefighters received the call around 6:40 p.m. Sunday. The blaze extinguished in about two hours. However, firefighters didn’t clear the scene until approximately 10:30 p.m.

Myers said they stood by “to make sure there were no more flareups.”

In addition to Ellwood City, departments that responded were Chewton, New Castle, Perry Township, Shenango Township, Wayne Township, Franklin Township, North Sewickley Township and Zelienople.

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)

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