Belt burns at Carmeuse

BETTSVILLE – Firefighters from six departments battled a blaze in a material storage building at Carmeuse Lime & Stone, 1967 W. CR 42, Wednesday afternoon.

Michael Klenda, site operations manager at the plant, said the facility had a conveyor belt fire in the lime load-out building. The crew, which executed the facility’s emergency response plan, tried to put out the fire with an extinguisher, but was unsuccessful.

He said an official contacted the fire department for assistance before any evidence of smoke, and the building was evacuated.

“The guys are trained to do this,” he said.

Chief Jim Maglosky of Bettsville Volunteer Fire Department said firefighters found belts burning in the conveyor system. Most of the fire was inside the unit until firefighters opened it, and it took three hours to get the fire under control, he said.

Maglosky said a welding accident caused the fire.

“They were patching the conveyor,” he said.

Klenda said he believed the two maintenance employees were the only people in the building at the time of the fire, and they were not injured. One firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion, Maglosky said.

He said he did not have a damage estimate Wednesday evening.

Klenda said the crew would have to make repairs to the 30-foot belt. The rubber belt that burned was a different belt than the one that caught fire several months ago, he said.

“That was totally different circumstances,” he said.

More than 50 fire and EMS personnel were at the scene Wednesday.

A Seneca County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman said personnel from Bascom EMS, Bascom Joint Fire District, Bettsville fire and EMS, Seneca County’s Echo unit, Seneca Community Chaplain Corps, Tiffin Fire Rescue Division, and Clinton, Kansas and Old Fort fire departments responded to the fire, which was reported at 12:04 p.m.

A Seneca County Sheriff’s Office official and Bascom and county air trailers also were at the scene.

Other departments were on standby in case they were needed, and some were moved around to cover other areas.

The spokeswoman said Republic EMS was stationed at Clinton’s fire station, Bloomville EMS was stationed at SR 19 and US 224, New Riegel and Washington Township fire departments were stationed at Bascom’s fire station, and Ballville Township’s fire department was stationed at Old Fort’s fire station.

Attica-Venice-Reed, Bloomville, Green Springs, Republic and Risingsun fire departments were at their own stations on standby.

A crew remained at the scene until 5:30 p.m.