Two fires have origins in auto scrap

Fires in Texas and North Carolina began in automotive scrap storage areas.

August 2, 2015
Recycling Today Staff
Auto Shredding Ferrous

Scrap yard fires in two different states in late July both reportedly had their origins in areas where automotive scrap was being stored.

One fire was at a Commercial Metals Co. (CMC) scrap storage area near its Seguin, Texas, steel mill while the other occurred at an OmniSource Corp. location in Hanover, North Carolina.

According to an online report by the Seguin Gazette, the fire at the CMC mill was reported around 5:30 in the morning Wednesday, July 26, arising from “a car in a pile of scrap metal” near the mill.

The fire grew to take on considerable proportions and eventually members of 15 different fire departments in the region, as well as fire fighters from a nearby U.S. Air Force base, helped contain and extinguish the blaze.

Twenty-four hours later, around 5:15 in the morning on Thursday, July 27, the fire at the OmniSource location in Hanover, North Carolina, was reported.

An article from the Wilmington, North Carolina, StarNewsOnline indicates the OmniSource fire started in “a concrete containment area that holds dashboards, car seats and other non-metal products from recycled cars.”

The North Carolina blaze did not grow to the proportions of the CMC blaze in Texas and was extinguished the same day, according to the report.

Investigators were concentrating on “stray embers” produced from the nearby auto shredding plant as a potential cause of the fire.

Neither news report mentions the role of lithium batteries as a possible cause of either of the fires. However, the potential danger of such batteries as a cause of automotive scrap fires was brought to the attention of shredder operators at the 2015 BIR World Recycling Convention by George Adams of SA Recycling, Anaheim, California.