Extrusion plant fire probe continues

COLUMBIANA – The cause of Thursday’s fire at a business on Esterly Drive remains under investigation, Chief Rick Garrity said Monday.

The Columbiana Fire Department was called to Zarbana Industries around 8:30 p.m. after a trucker picking up sand at nearby Buckeye Transfer Realty called 911 from a cell phone.

Garrity said eyewitness accounts will help move the investigation along.

Although Zarbana was already closed for the day there was still activity in the industrial park.

The chief said he hopes to talk to people who were in the area that night to shed more light on exactly what happened.

“If we can just determine what exactly they saw and heard it will help determine what the cause might have been,” he said.

The company specializes in aluminum extrusions and fabrication, and Garrity said the fire originated in and around one of the extrusion machines.

The machine was not on at the time and no one was inside the facility, he said.

In fact, because it was after hours the department had to wait for a key holder to arrive to gain entry into the building. Firefighters also had to wait until the power was shut-off to at least a portion of the facility before attacking the fire with water, he said.

“Our biggest deterrent was waiting to get the power shut down. You’re talking some pretty high voltage in there,” he said.

Whether the power shut-off effected nearby businesses, including Buckeye Transfer, he wasn’t sure.

Once inside, firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the area around the machine, and Garrity said it was under control within 30 minutes.

“We were very fortunate … It didn’t take us long to knock it down,” he said.

The machine was located along the north wall of the building not far from a large electrical feed. The fire burned through a portion of the wall and melted the exterior siding, he said.

He also said the company’s insurance agency will be looking into it further sometime this week.

The Leetonia Fire Department provided assistance on the call. No injuries were reported.