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Fire causes heavy damage at E'town's Metalsa plant

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By Sarah Bennett

An accidental fire early Monday morning at Metalsa in Elizabethtown temporarily shut down operations and caused extensive damage to a confined area of the plant, according to fire officials.

Elizabethtown Fire Chief Mike Hulsey said 21 personnel responded around 2 a.m. Monday to the manufacturing plant at 750 North Black Branch Road.

Metalsa spokesman Mike Marsh confirmed the occurrence of a fire at the Elizabethtown plant. No injuries were reported, he said.

According to Hulsey, a robot operating a press that requires hydraulic oil caught fire when the oil overheated. A container holding 300 gallons of hydraulic oil also ignited, he said.

The flames spread naturally to the plant’s system of vents, Hulsey said, as there is one connected to each machine.

According to Hulsey, this led to 30-foot-tall flames shooting from vents in the building’s roof. However, he said the fire did not spread to the roof.

Firefighters made entry to the building where they encountered “pitch black smoke” but were able to control flames at the site of the machine, he said.

The heavy damage largely was confined to the area of the press that ignited the fire, according to the chief.

Marsh said he was unable to assign a dollar value to the fire’s damage. Metalsa anticipates the Elizabethtown plant will be fully operational by the end of the week.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at 270-505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.