Aluminum dust was behind a fire at the Kawasaki Tennessee plant in Morristown, TN, Monday, fire officials said.
To quell the fire, firefighters used a dry chemical to extinguish the white-hot fire that fueled by a large quantity of aluminum dust outside the Kawasaki Tennessee plant, a firefighter said. The facility produces parts for automobiles.
The fire, which burned with the intensity of a sparkler, temporarily halted production at the automotive supplier in the Morristown Airport Industrial District, but work resumed Tuesday morning, said Deputy Chief Clark Taylor.
There were no injuries in the incident.
The fire started at a large clogged funnel outside the plant that’s an end point of the ventilation and filtration system. Firefighters used a pike to loosen the super-heated metal dust, which ignited as soon as it was exposed to oxygen, Taylor said.
“We had to dig (the aluminum dust) out of the bottom,” the deputy fire chief said. “Our crew did a really good job. The (dust) would fall out in globs. They had to poke it and run.”
Taylor says the metal would have easily burned through firefighters’ turnout gear.
The fire was so intense that most of the aluminum dust burned before it splashed onto the ground. Taylor said the near-molten metal burned a hole approximately 4 feet in diameter in the ground.
Taylor says firefighters were rotated in and out of the hot zone. While one crew was engaged, another crew stood by in case a firefighter required rescue, Taylor said.
The Kawasaki plant, has approximately three other fan systems that remove aluminum dust from the production area, Taylor said.