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Cause of scrapyard fire remains unknown

Official: No contaminants reached Mahoning River

GIRARD — City fire Chief James Petruzzi said people driving to the area from Akron could see the dark discoloration in the sky during a large scrapyard fire Saturday afternoon at the Metalico Inc. property off U.S. Route 422 near the Interstate 80 exit.

Petruzzi said more than 40 fire departments responded to the scene from Trumbull, Mahoning, Geauga, Ashtabula and Portage counties with three water-fill sites set up at three locations. Petruzzi said he will determine this week how much water was used.

Workers at Metalico called Trumbull 911 after seeing black smoke coming from the center of a pile of metal that included old school buses, scrap cars and tires. Petruzzi said 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 made sure contaminants did not enter the Mahoning River. Petruzzi said hazmat crews also were checking the air quality for the safety of workers and the public.

“We were fortunate that nothing flowed into the river. Hazmat was cleaning up 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 as far as three to four counties away who reported seeing dark smoke in the sky.

“I had people who were coming from Akron tell us they saw the discoloration of the sky and wondered what had happened,” he said.

The Girard Fire Department was dispatched after 3 p.m. to Furnace Lane and arrived to find flames up to 10 feet high.

“We used the independent water source on site until mutual aid companies could arrive and establish a better source. The fire spread rapidly due to high heat and wind,” Petruzzi said.

He said the department had mutual aid response from five counties to supply three ladder trucks and other master streams.

“When we arrived, there was a large pile of scrap cars on fire and because of the wind we were experiencing, it was a fast-moving fire so we immediately called for additional agencies,” Petruzzi said.

“We were ultimately able to get a handle on the situation after a foam trailer arrived from Palmyra Township,” the chief said.

He said one firefighter was transported to the hospital for a medical-related issue.

“This was a multicounty team effort, and we could not have had a successful outcome without mutual aid agencies. We are grateful for their response,” Petruzzi said.

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