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Fire at southwest Indianapolis recycling facility under control

This is at least the second fire at OmniSource in a month
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Posted at 4:35 PM, May 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-23 21:41:19-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A fire broke out at a metal recycling facility on the southwest side of Indianapolis Sunday afternoon. It's at least the second time a fire has occurred at the facility in less than a month.

Firefighters were dispatched around 1:40 p.m. to OmniSource Recycling at 2205 South Holt Road on reports of a building fire.

A large plume of black smoke could be seen rising high above the property by fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

According to Courtney Rice, Wayne Township Fire Department's Public Information Officer, it took fire crews about 20 minutes to get the blaze under control.

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"We've been here several times before, including a big fire about three weeks ago, so Battalion was looking ahead and called for an extra ladder truck," Rice told WRTV's photojournalist Jake Weller at the scene. "He got here and a large portion of the conveyor system that moves metal from different parts of the plant was on fire and was starting to encroach, actually, into the building."

Although the fire can be pointed to the conveyor system, it's unclear what exactly started the blaze. PIO Rice says fire investigators will be looking into that but believes it will be determined as another accidental fire.

"Everything that they do requires the source of heat," Rice said, explaining why fires such as the one on Sunday are not uncommon at scrap yards. "Whether they use torches or welders or something to separate this metal and make it smaller, so then they can get it out to distributors for recycling. So anytime you're using fire and welders and things like that, and scrap metal, there's paint, there's rubber, things like that, that's still attached to that metal, and it's going to catch on fire. And (the fire) gets away from time to time."

PIO Rice said there wasn't really any structural damage to the OmniSource building, thanks to the sprinklers that were activated once the fire started. The main damage, however, was to the company's surveyor system.

About 5,000 tons of scrap metal was burning at the last fire, on April 30, at OmniSource, according to Rice.

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