Firefighters Work to Contain Fire At Northeast Columbus Company


UPDATED: Friday October 4, 2013 11:26 PM

A northeast Columbus business caught fire on Friday afternoon.

Flames shot through the roof of Burton Metal Finishing at 1711 Woodland Ave. Thick, dark smoke rolled out as a steady stream of water attacked from all angles.

The fire started around 5:15 p.m. The cause is still unknown.

"17 years I've put into that place and now it's gone," said shipping manager Mike Miller. "It's a shock, knowing I'm going to be out of a job Monday."

He says about 30 people work at the company.  The plant had cleared out for the day when the fire sparked. One person was still inside.

"One of the owners was inside, in his office and they had to bring him through an upstairs window because he couldn't get out," Miller said.

"He has a pretty good bunch of chemicals in that building, a lot of tanks heated up,"  said Miller.

Officials said that there were a number of chemicals in the building, which houses a metal casting and finishing business.

The chemicals made it difficult for fire officials to extinguish the flames.

"The biggest problems we have in a situation like this is the unknown," said Battalion Chief Patrick Ferguson.

Firefighters didn't know the extent of the danger.  They eventually determined the chemicals weren't involved but the heat and smoke forced workers in the next business out.  Neighbors were warned to stay inside.

"It's bad. It's real bad and it's hot. We had to evacuate because we was feeling the heat from the building," said neighbor Tina Alexander. He was in the building next door.
                                                                                                                            
As the flames died down Friday night, Miller's concern shifted to his co-workers and how the damage extends far beyond the burnt out walls.

"A lot of people's worked there a lot of years," said Miller.

Investigators will go in the building as soon as it's safe to try to determine a cause. 

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