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    Lithium-ion batteries linked to Granite City recycling plant fire Archived Message

    Posted by Riverbender on August 8, 2019, 1:14 pm

    The cause of a large fire at a Granite City recycling plant is under investigation by the Illinois State Fire Marshal but employees reported to firefighters that lithium-ion batteries possibly were stored with the computer parts that burned, the Granite City Fire Department said.

    Granite City firefighters spent about 13 hours battling the blaze at Totall Metal Recycling Inc. at 2700 Missouri Ave.

    No injuries were reported, said Granite City Assistant Fire Chief Kenny Prazma. The fire, which produced smoke that could be seen for miles from the plant, was reported about 4 p.m. Tuesday and firefighters returned to the station about 5 a.m. Wednesday.

    A man who answered the phone at Totall Metal Recycling declined to comment to the News-Democrat Wednesday.

    Prazma said the company is cooperating with investigators and the company served drinks and pizza to firefighters.

    Fourteen other fire departments assisted Granite City with the blaze.

    “They did a terrific job,” Prazma said.

    St. Louis firefighters responded with a fuel truck so firetrucks that had been on the scene for multiple hours could be refueled and other departments brought aerial ladder trucks and water.

    Prazma said there is a fire hydrant near the Totall Metal Recyling entrance and another fire hydrant was about 1,300 feet away but additional water was needed.

    The fire was contained to the pile of computer parts that burned, Prazma said.

    Along with the State Fire Marshal, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency responded to investigate.

    JC Fultz, spokesman for the State Fire Marshal, said an investigator on the scene reported that the cause of the fire has not been determined.

    Kim Biggs, spokeswoman for the EPA, said she did not yet have a report from agency investigators.

    The value of the amount of damage caused by the fire was not available.

    The fire occurred at the same recycling plant where two employees were killed in 2014 when a mortar shell exploded. The company was recycling shell cases on contract for the military, the News-Democrat reported at the time.

    The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration gave the business a citation in 2015 for the following violation: “The employer did not furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.” The penalty was $7,000.

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