GIRARD – City Fire Chief James Petruzzi said people traveling to the area from Akron could see the dark discoloration in the sky during a large breakage fire Saturday afternoon at Metalico property. Inc. off US Route 422 near the Interstate 80 exit.
Petruzzi said more than 40 fire departments responded to the scene in Trumbull, Mahoning, Geauga, Ashtabula and Portage counties with three water fill sites set up at three locations. Petruzzi said he will determine the amount of water used this week.
Metalico workers called Trumbull 911 after seeing black smoke billowing from the center of a pile of metal that included old school buses, scrap cars and tires. Petruzzi said the cause of the fire is under investigation.
“No buildings were damaged and no one was injured,” he said.
Mahoning County hazmat crews came to the scene and ensured contaminants did not enter the Mahoning River. Petruzzi said hazmat crews are also checking air quality for worker and public safety.
“We were lucky that nothing flowed into the river. Hazmat was cleaning and checking the site,” he said.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will continue to monitor the site.
Petruzzi said he and other firefighters received calls from people in three to four counties away who said they saw black smoke in the sky.
“I had people coming from Akron tell us that they saw the fading sky and wondered what happened,” he said.
Girard’s fire department was dispatched after 3 p.m. to Furnace Lane and arrived to find flames reaching 10 feet high.
“We used the independent water source on site until mutual aid societies could arrive and establish a better source. The fire spread quickly due to the high heat and wind,” said Petruzzi.
He said the department received a mutual aid response from five counties to provide three ladder trucks and other main streams.
“When we arrived there was a large pile of cars on fire and due to the wind we were experiencing it was a fast moving fire so we immediately called additional agencies,” said Petruzzi.
“We were finally able to get the situation under control after a foam trailer arrived from Palmyra Township,” the chief said.
He said a firefighter was taken to hospital with a medical issue.
“This was a team effort across multiple counties, and we couldn’t have had a successful outcome without the service agencies. We are grateful for their response,” said Petruzzi.