Fire in Scrubber Building at Heritage Thermal Emits Huge Plumes of Smoke

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – Firefighters from three departments remained on the scene of a fire at Heritage Thermal Services in the East End after 10 p.m. Monday night, having been called to assist the on-site hazmat response team at about 6:30 p.m.

City firefighters initially responded to the hazardous waste incinerator, calling for mutual aid from Liverpool Township Volunteer Fire Department and later from Wellsville Fire Department, which responded with its aerial truck just as night fell across the valley. 

Huge plumes of smoke, alternating between snow white and coal black, wafted across the Ohio River as firefighters arrived on the scene and then for several hours, with residents coming outside onto their lawns to watch the billowing clouds. 

According to a statement obtained from Heritage Thermal spokesman Raymond Wayne, a fire broke out during maintenance work in the scrubber building, an emissions control device. This prompted a response from onsite hazmat personnel and the fire departments, with Wayne reporting the fire was extinguished within 45 minutes.

Wayne said the incinerator was not processing waste because of a maintenance outage that began early Sunday morning. As part of the maintenance schedule, work is being done in the scrubber, which removes acid gases and fine particulate materials.

Waste was not involved in the incident, Wayne said.

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the incident, according to Wayne, who said no employees or contractors were injured during the incident.

Access to the affected area was limited, so city fire officials could not immediately be reached for comment on why smoke was still billowing from the scrubber if the fire was extinguished within 45 minutes as reported. 

Wayne said the company was in communication with elected and regulatory officials regarding the incident. Calcutta and Glenmoor fire departments were also on standby at their stations, according to Liverpool Township fire personnel. 

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.