Firefighters battle blaze, cold temperatures, in morning factory fire

Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Department

Columbus firefighters had to deal with the frigid cold this morning to fight fires at an aluminum smelting factory on Inman Drive.

An employee at Nikkei MC Aluminum saw flames inside the facility at about 3:30 a.m. this morning and called firefighters. Four engine companies and two rescue companies were dispatched to the scene, along with support and command staff.

When emergency crews arrived, the company’s 10 employees who had been working at the time had already evacuated and no one was injured.

Firefighters found heavy smoke inside the building. And while the sprinkler system had activated, the fire was above the sprinklers in the steel i-beams overhead and in a dust collector system on the outside of the building, says Capt. Mike Wilson with the fire department.

Firefighters discovered that the fire had ignited in dust and debris in the i-beams in the ceiling, then spread to other accumulations of flammable materials in the facility, causing several more spot fires.

Company officials told firefighters that the fire originally appeared in an afterburner furnace that is meant to limit the amount of pollution that goes into the air.

It took firefighters about two hours to get all of the fires under control, Wilson said. There’s no word yet on how long the plant will be out of commission.

Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Department.