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Fire ousts OH residents

A magnesium fire at a recycling plant burned for a second day on Tuesday, causing evacuation of the Garfield Heights community 10 miles southeast of Cleveland, Ohio.

BY SUSAN KIM | CLEVELAND, Ohio | December 30, 2003

A magnesium fire at a recycling plant burned for a second day on Tuesday, causing evacuation of the Garfield Heights community 10 miles southeast of Cleveland, Ohio.

Magnesium explodes when it touches water, so fire crews have left the fire to burn out while trying to control its perimeter. More than 100 people living within a quarter-mile of the plant were evacuated, some taking shelter in the fire station Monday night.

The blaze began Monday afternoon and has destroyed two of the Garfield Alloy's three buildings as well as a neighboring heating company, according to reports from fire officials.

Fire crews estimated the fire would burn through Tuesday evening. Smaller magnesium fires are sometimes put out with sand but the size of this blaze prohibited that option.

Rain was hampering firefighting efforts as well.

No homes were threatened by the blaze, which shattered windows during the initial explosion. Plant employees escaped without harm.

During 2001, a drum of magnesium caught fire at the same plant. Firefighters contained that blaze with sand.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency reported it was sampling air and water.


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