By Amy Wadas

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CHARTIERS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — People living in Chartiers Township were ordered to “Shelter in Place” when fire broke out inside a metal manufacturing plant on Thursday evening.

Washington County emergency management crews say a piece of machinery caught fire around 7:30 p.m. inside Dynamet, a fine metals and wire manufacturer, in the 100 block of Museum Road.

“Upon arrival, they did find a piece of machinery was on fire inside the building, smoke was leaving the property,” said Ryan Frazee, of the Washington County Department of Public Safety.

Crews spent much of the evening working to put the fire out inside the facility. Just before 11 p.m., they got it mostly contained.

Frazee said there was initial concern because the fire was reported in a part of the business that houses many chemicals. Hazmat teams were called to the scene, but air monitors detected no chemicals in the air, just smoke from the blaze.

 

Still, residents were ordered to shelter in place as a precaution.

“Initially, due to the chemicals being inside the facility, the local emergency responders, the fire, the police, the EMS, had a shelter in place order for the local residents here just in an overabundance of caution to make sure that if anything was leaving the property that they would be protected,” Frazee said, “but once air monitoring was established, we found there was no air quality issues on the property or off the property, and the fire is now under control.”

The order was eventually lifted.

According to Frazee, the fire spread throughout the building and then to the roof, causing a partial collapse onto the machinery that initially caught fire.

Lisa Washington’s Report:

Crystal Tulley works next door to the Dynamet plant in Charitiers Township, Washington County.

She wasn’t at work when the fire started at the metal manufacturing plant. She was in Canonsburg- several miles away, and could smell something burning.

“It smelled like hydraulic oils, fuels,” Tulley told KDKA’s Lisa Washington, “Kinda like plastic or burning rubber, that’s what it smelled like. Being in Canonsburg, I thought it was somebody maybe burning garbage.”

Tulley said she learned about the shelter in place order from Washington County authorities when she returned home from running an errand.

“I saw the alert on Facebook, and let my guys know and everything not to come down here because I imagined the emergency responders would have the roads blocked,” she said.

Tulley added that she wasn’t afraid, just curious about what was burning.

“Just the fallout, breathing that in, whatever it is, and not knowing what it is, just the warning said stay inside because there were fuels burning,” she said.

There were workers in the facility when the fire broke out, but Frazee says everyone was able to get out safely. No major injuries were reported, but there were some bumps and bruises due to icy conditions at the scene.

There is a lot of damage to the facility. And, at this time, crews don’t know how the machinery caught fire.

Officials say crews are continuing to monitor the chemicals as a precaution.

“They did contact the HAZMAT environmental remediation company just as an overabundance of caution should any of those chemicals be breached inside the building to protect that from entering any water streams or system,” said Frazee.

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.

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