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Fire marshal: Lightning sparked MagReTech blaze

Emil Whitis • Mar 16, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Lightning sparked Tuesday morning’s fire at a magnesium recycling facility near U.S. 20 in Bellevue, the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s office said.

Late Thursday, meanwhile, the fire was still smoldering in the MagReTech trailer lot.

Firefighters were called to the site early Tuesday morning after a trailer caught fire. The trailers at the facility are packed with scrap magnesium, a metal that can’t be doused with water when it’s burning. Water, in fact, only makes a magnesium-fueled fire worse, firefighters said.    

Crews snuffed the flames with a sand-like material. Residents nearby said the fire was still smoldering Thursday.

Firefighters had immediately suspected lightning was to blame, and the State Fire Marshal has confirmed that was the cause. Bellevue fire Chief Brian Putnam told reporters and concerned residents that the smoke from the fire wasn’t toxic, although it could agitate people who have pre-existing breathing problems. In the end, the only apparent casualties were four melted semi-trailers. 

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