EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – Fire crews were battling a fire at the hazardous waste plant in East Liverpool.
Crews were called to Heritage Thermal Services, formally WTI, for a fire around 6:30 p.m. Monday night.
A viewer sent in a video of smoke pouring out of the building.
Earlier, the company said the facility is not processing waste presently due to a maintenance outage that began early Sunday morning.
“As part of the maintenance schedule, work is being conducted in the scrubber, an emissions control device that removes acid gases and fine particulate material. The company is in communication with elected and regulatory officials about the incident,” the statement read.
At one point, it was reported the fire was out, but the flames weren’t done just yet.
Upon arrival, black smoke plumed out of the building’s scrubber area prompting three other fire departments to respond to the scene.
This isn’t the first fire at the plant.
“I’ve been on this department for 32 years, and that’s the largest fire that has been there since I’ve been here,” said East Liverpool Fire Chief William Jones.
Heritage Thermal Services released a statement Monday night saying the fire was out in 45 minutes. The city of East Liverpool also posted it on Facebook. But Chief Jones said it actually took a few hours to extinguish and said the fire ramped back up just before firefighters got it under control.
“They were actually above it and the fire actually came around behind them again. My guys were trapped between the fire and the upper floor, so now they have to fight their way back down,” said Jones.
This plant has been an issue for some residents. East Liverpool native Alonzo Spencer lives near the facility and said these incidents are getting old.
“Every time something like that happens, we go back and remember when the plant never should have been here in the first place,” said Spencer.
Spencer started an organization to prevent the plant from being built years ago. He’s concerned the plant is too close to a residential area.
“It’s a threat to the environment and it’s a threat to our community, especially children,” said Spencer.
After reaching out to Heritage Thermal Services earlier Tuesday morning, they declined to comment any further on the matter.