MADISON COUNTY, IL – Fire erupted at a recycling plant in the Metro East Tuesday (Aug. 6) at a company that was the site of a deadly explosion in 2014. Fire officials are still investigating the cause of the fire at Totall Metal Recycling in Granite City.
A thick cloud of smoke stretched high above the Metro East Tuesday afternoon. People heading home from work could see it from miles away.
“You could see the fire was actually getting up about as high as the tree level, so when you see a fire that’s that big it’s kind of unimaginable what can actually happen,” said witness Christian Denton.
Police shut down nearby roads trapping some people in place. Dorjian Bradshaw said he heard “loud booms” followed by “popping” sounds as the flames burned.
Prazma said the biggest challenge was getting enough water to the scene to battle the massive fire. There are only two hydrants nearby, Prazma said, so it was a group effort among many departments to not only fight the flames but relay more water to the scene.
The company recycles electronics, hardware, commercial products, manufacturing waste, and industrial material. According to its website, Totall Metal Recycling has more than 130 employees. No one was injured and operations continued the next day. Arson has been ruled out as a possible cause for the fire.
Totall Metal Recycling issued this statement about the fire:
“Totall Metal Recycling resumed normal operations on Wednesday morning, August 7 after a fire on Tuesday afternoon, August 6. The fire occurred in a scrap pile of electronic equipment with no hazardous components. All focus materials had been removed. The fire was quickly contained and extinguished without incident. There were no injuries and no damage. We also have found nothing to indicate any lithium batteries were involved. We thank local fire personnel who responded and extinguished the fire so quickly, and our employees for reacting promptly to the situation on our property.”
In 2014, two men who worked for Totall Metal Recycling were killed when a mortar round exploded. A third employee was injured.
Prior to that, OSHA said it cited the company in 2011 and 2012 for lead exposure and respiratory problems.