DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Plumes of smoke were still visible at Cohen Recycling Center 24 hours after a fire Sunday afternoon, which impacted not only the business, but the neighboring communities.
Scrap yards present their own challenges when it comes to fighting fires. They usually contain highly flammable materials that can burn for hours, stressing resources, increasing demand for manpower, and water.
Mike Rice, Deputy Chief at Dayton Fire Department said, “Large piles of scrap cars, very tall piles, lots of jagged metal, and lots of slippery surfaces so we want to take our time and normally these fires will become deep seeded. You have a lot of fuel, hydrocarbons, plastic still in these vehicles and once they catch fire in those dense piles they will burn for a long period of time.
Scrap yards contain a variety of chemicals and toxic heavy metals like lead, mercury, oil waste, and even radioactive material that could get into the air, water, and ground.
Rice said, “When it comes to the environment we are really concerned with the water and the runoff, specifically we don’t want that getting into our source water tables so we involve water engineering, we involve environmental folks to ensure that we’re not creating additional hazards.”
Based on wind conditions, and how large the plume of smoke is, officials can determine where the smoke will travel, taking a proactive approach to keeping the public safe.
Rice said, “We want to make sure that we are protecting the public from these types of incidents. So we’ll look at the travel of the smoke, and look if it is going to a densely populated area. If it is going to an area of concern, a high target hazard such as a hospital and make decisions whether to shelter people in place or to evacuate, and most of the time it is shelter in place.”
According to their website, the West Carrollton location is home to the automobile shredder.