Firefighting, Hazmat, Industrial Firefighting

Evacuation Order Lifted After Chemical Fire in Canton (OH)

Emergency officials lifted the evacuation order at noon Tuesday after battling a fire in an industrial building where a release of sulfur dioxide Monday forced residents from their homes in Canton (OH), reports

Residents were being allowed to return to their homes. although some could be without electricity temporarily. A spokesman for American Electric Power said about 17 customers in the area lost power as a result of the fire, but that crews were on their way to restore service.

At least a dozen people were taken to area hospitals, and at one point overnight, at least 300 residents were staying at the Canton Memorial Civic Center, where county emergency officials had set up a shelter, said Tim Warstler, director of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency. About 135 people stayed overnight.

By Tuesday morning, schools were closed as firefighters continued to pour “tens of thousands of gallons” of water onto the building at 1811 20th St. NE, firefighters said.

Firefighters were called at 2:03 p.m. Monday to the building as the result of a “possible structure fire,” said Tom Garra, who heads the Stark County Hazardous Materials Team and serves as battalion chief for the Canton Fire Department.

Two firefighters went inside, but not far, he said. They noticed a “reaction” happening, “but it wasn’t fire that was giving off the smoke.”

The smell of sulfur hung heavy in the air.

The HazMat Unit was called to the scene and its members were suited up and about to enter the building when they noticed fire was breaking out inside, Garra said.

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