EMA director: Ellwood City fire handled properly

The lithium fire cannot be extinguished with water. The fire is burning at the west end of dock two.

ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. (WKBN) – Emergency workers correctly handled a fire at a metal recycling plant on Nov. 9, a local emergency management deputy told WKBN Friday.

Jeff Magnifico said that officials did not order anyone in the area to evacuate after the fire broke out at Inmetco in Ellwood City, but they did set up a shelter and told callers to stay indoors.

The dollar amount of damage that the fire did is still unknown, according to Magnifico, who said that multiple fire departments lost hoses and equipment. The fire began when a barrel holding lithium batteries caught fire, likely after water got into it.

Ellwood City Fire Chief Rick Myers said 17 departments responded to the call.

The call for the fire came in just before 9:00 a.m., and fire crews were on scene all day fighting the fire.

Lawrence County Director of Public Safety Brian Melcer said the weather played a big role in keeping them from issuing an evacuation order for the nearby area. He said the winds were light Sunday and any hazardous material or toxic fumes were contained to the site.

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