The Times, Munster, Ind.
VALPARAISO — A blaze tore through much of an industrial recycling facility, causing firefighters and tankers from several communities to converge at the scene.
At 5:09 p.m. Tuesday firefighters responded to an activated smoke detector at Metro Recycling at 2155 W. Lincolnway, said Lt. Robert Schulte, Valparaiso Fire Department’s public information officer.
When firefighters arrived, they learned that employees had extinguished a pile of trash, mostly cardboard, that had caught fire by the rear of the building. However, the flames had traveled up from the exterior into the interior of the building, spreading rapidly.
Inside, firefighters were met with heavy heat and smoke on the second floor. However, the fire grew so intense that they had to retreat outside to continue the attack, Schulte said.
Firefighters from South Haven, Liberty Township, Washington Township, Union Township, Morgan Township and Boone Grove assisted Valparaiso Fire Department at the scene. With the help of tankers from surrounding areas, 53,000 gallons of water were used to extinguish the blaze.
There were no serious injuries and one Union Township firefighter did have a minor heat-related injury, but he refused medical treatment at the hospital, Schulte said.
Around 7:30 p.m. crews began to do overhaul and search for hot spots in the rubble. An excavator tore down a portion of the north end of the building, revealing flames that were buried under the debris.
A total of 30% of the building had heavy fire damage and the rest of the building sustained smoke and water damage.
Schulte said while the origin of the fire was tracked to the refuse pile at the rear of the building, the cause of the fire is still being investigated.
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