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Explosions in Danville After Fire Breaks Out at Recycling Facility

Updated: Wednesday, July 9 2014, 02:44 PM CDT

DANVILLE-- "We had 55-gallon barrel lids flying in the air, 30 to 50 feet." Kickapoo fire lieutenant David Alpers could hear the explosions from his house. When the call came in just before noon to respond to a fire at Bryant Industries in Danville, he was ready.

"As soon as you heard a boom you had to be looking in the sky. Me and one of the officers that was on Oakwood had to basically hit the ground as it flew over." Bryant Industries CEO Mike Bryant says, "The explosions were sealed drums, and the heat got intense, and the lids were still on. At that point the barrels just got hot and blew the lids off of them."

Bryant Industries recycles materials of all kinds, including aluminum, copper, and wood. An employee was performing a routine task when the fire broke out. Bryant says, "He was sorting wood from the metal and that's when for whatever reason there was a spark that got under the wood pile. It's something that you don't want to happen, but there's really no avoidance to it at that point."

Bryant says small fires can be common at materials facilities, and his company is trained and ready to deal with them. Even after it got out of control, workers assisted the fire crews as best they could. Lt. Alpers says, "Fighting the fire from the top, a lot of the times you can't get to the flame and stuff is smoldering at the bottom. They brought in two big end loaders and separated everything as we were putting water on it at the same time."

Lt. Alpers says without the help of Bryant employees, it would have taken several more hours to get the fire under control. "That was a major blessing for those guys to step in and help out."

Explosions in Danville After Fire Breaks Out at Recycling Facility

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