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A cap blew off of a kiln, spraying out molten steel and catching the roof on fire at Quaker City Castings in Salem, OH, Tuesday afternoon.

The blast forced the company to shut down for the day but planned to resume production the next morning in the other half of the building.

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Maintenance workers were returning Tuesday night to work on cleanup. There were no injuries in the incident.

Monetary damages were still being determined, said Fire Chief Scott Mason.

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He planned to consult with company officials, noting one kiln was involved and he wasn’t sure how much electrical damage there might be since there was some arcing when the fire was being extinguished. The roof area damaged measured 30 feet by 30 feet.

Quaker Castings is a no-bake sand foundry that produces a wide variety of iron castings and steel castings for various industrial applications.

The company also needs to fix its private fire hydrant, which the fire department used to battle the blaze. The line would not close once the fire department was finished so the city water department had to come in and turn the water off, cap the hydrant and then turn the water back on since it supplies the company’s private fire line. The private hydrant was taken out of service and the company will have to fix it.

The fire department responded after an employee called for help at 1:44 p.m. Mason said he saw a large column of smoke as he drove to the scene. Fire was coming through the roof upon arrival and firefighters made entry between the old Colfor building and the original portion of Quaker City Castings, coming through the west doorway off of South Broadway Avenue to get access to the roof line on the inside.

Foam and water ended up used to extinguish the fire which was under control after 15 to 20 minutes.

In talking with management, Mason said they learned about the cap to the kiln blowing off. Employees hit the molten steel with extinguishers first and eventually saw the fire in the roof line. He said there were fire extinguishers everywhere, so the employees probably thought they had the fire out. Ohio Edison and Columbia Gas were called to the scene also.

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