ST. MARYS — More than a dozen trucks remained on the scene early this morning as crews continued to battle a fire at ProPet that sparked Monday night.
“They had a fire in one of their grain bins,” St. Marys Fire Chief Joey Weaver told The Evening Leader at the scene early this morning.
“We got the call at about 9:30 p.m., and when we arrived, they had smoke on the third floor and the bin was hot.”
Officials made the decision to drain much of the product from the bin. Weaver said once 5 to 10 feet of product remained in the bin, the product flared up and the dust inside caught on fire. That can be dangerous as an explosion could occur if the circumstances are right.
“It’s very, very dangerous,” Weaver said. “That’s why it took so long for us to come to a resolution, we didn’t want to put anyone in undue harm.”
Weaver said fire crews tried a few points of attack and eventually settled on a mixture of water and foam to extinguish the blaze.
“The guys cut a hole in the bin and we put water and foam in that smothered it,” Weaver said. “The guys right now are chipping the burned mixture out.”
Departments from Wapakoneta, St. Marys Township, Buckland and New Knoxville arrived on the scene for mutual aid. Weaver said the mutual aid calls were placed because of the nature of the fire.
“It was in an enclosed area with extreme heat and that causes a lot of wear and tear on you,” Weaver said. “It allowed us to rehab our guys and it is still dust and we wanted to make sure we had everyone here just in case something happened.”
The Auglaize County EMA’s command center and a hazmat truck also responded to the scene.
“We had them just because of the massive amount of people we had here,” Weaver said. “We wanted one central location.”
Firefighters will continue to work the scene until the hot spots are gone. Weaver said ProPet officials will then monitor the bin throughout the day for any flare ups. No one was injured, and all ProPet personnel was evacuated when crews arrived on the scene.
Weaver also thanked the St. Marys McDonald’s for providing sandwiches and coffee to the firefighters.