Fire, Metal, Explosions and Questions

Industrial Fire at Dayton's Franklin Iron and Metal Scrap Yard
Franklin Iron & Metal Corp. fire
W. McMeans /

Dayton, OH — Better than 3,000 cars piled 50 feet high and thousands more home appliances burned well into the night of Thursday, 21 May 2010, as the Dayton Fire Department (DFD) battled a strong, but contained fire at the Franklin Iron and Metal Corporation's scrap yard on 2015 E. First Street. Sources state the blaze erupted at around 3 AM.

Throughout the day, random explosions peppered the scene as gas tanks of crushed automobiles exploded. There were no evacuations or reported fatalities. One injury occurred when a Wright-Patterson AFB (WPAFB) firefighter succumbed to heat exhaustion. His condition is stable.

The nature of the industrial fire earned the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the office of Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County and the Emergency Management Authority. The Montgomery County's Office of Emergency Management established a rumor control (RUCON) hotline, for residents desiring information about the fire, at (937) 225-6217.

About 60 DFD personnel, including 40 firefighters worked the blaze. Staff from the city’s police, water, sewage and public works departments were also deployed on scene. WPAFB provided critical assistance with a crew of 20 and 3,000 gallons of fire fighting foam.

Concerns over "just how toxic" the plumes of smoke had become prompted the EPA to sample the pollution. Local area schools canceled field trips and kept children indoors during recess, and authorities likewise officially canceled at 4:30 PM, a "shelter in place" advisory once it was determined no harmful toxins were present. Dayton Fire Chief Herbert Redden flatly stated, "At this point, there are no contaminants in the smoke."

Redden further commented on the cost of battling the inferno, referring to 1,200 gallons of foam used to suppress the fire. (Foam costs $75.00 per 5 gallons.) It appears the City of Dayton intends to bill the scrap yard for services rendered, where foam alone would net $18,000.00 of that invoice.

The conflagration was 90% quenched as of 11 PM, and was brought fully under control by 8 AM Friday morning. The precise cause of the blaze is not yet known, is reported to be accidental and could take several weeks to uncover.

The scrap yard has no surveillance cameras and authorities would very much like to speak with the man who reported the fire, early Thursday morning, via cell phone.

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