Torch sparks fire at mill site

HOWLAND – A demolition crew member working inside the former RG Steel mill ignited a pile of metal and scrap while working with a blow torch Tuesday morning, a fire official said.

Fire crews from Howland, Warren Township, Weathersfield and Lordstown responded about 9:30 a.m. to the fire deep inside the former mill property off Pine Avenue.

They remained on site for several hours to make sure the flames were out.

Heavy equipment operators on site for the demolition assisted by pulling scrap out of the pile piece by piece to allow each one to be sprayed by firefighters, ensuring it would not reignite, said Howland fire Chief James Pantalone II.

Pantalone said the sparks ignited quickly because of residual oil that remains on much of scrap from the years of milling there. No injuries were reported.

It was at least the second time this year that fire has erupted at the property where workers are demolishing many of the buildings at the idled plant.

The property is owned by a partnership known as BDM Warren Steel Holdings, which bought the property in August 2012, months after it was shut down during a bankruptcy by the former operator RG Steel. Production halted there in spring 2012.

Demolition has been under way for several months.