Fire strikes MEI

A materials fire at Midwest Elastomers Inc. on Wednesday morning caused an undetermined amount of damage at the plant, Wapakoneta Fire Chief Kendall Krites said this morning.

Nine firefighters from the Wapakoneta Fire Department and five firefighters from the Uniopolis Fire Department responded to the blaze which started shortly before 9 a.m. Wapakoneta crews were back at the fire station at 11:15 a.m.

“The machinery that grinds the rubber material will periodically back up in the system and cause some overheating issues and catch on fire,” Krites said. “The sprinkler system did a nice job knocking down the fire and we then got a crew in there with a hose to finish putting out the fire.”

The fire chief said the fire created a lot of smoke with a thick black smoke near the ground level and other smoke at the ceiling of the structure.

No one at the plant and no firefighter was injured from the blaze.

“They did a nice job of evacuating the people out of the plant and only a couple of maintenance guys were left in the building but they were near the door,” Krites said. “They assisted firefighters with where the fire was located when we arrived.

The ground and pulverized rubber material caught on fire, Krites explained. None of the machinery caught on fire.

He said plant crews will have to take parts and equipment apart to clean and check for fire damage. They will get the lines up and running as soon as they can, he said.