LOS ANGELES A titanium
fire at a unit of RTI International Metals Inc. appears to be
under control after breaking out late Tuesday, a fire
department official said.
John Whitlatch, division chief
at the Akron (Ohio) Fire Department, told AMM that a
fire broke out in a hopper March 5 at RTI Alloys in Canton,
Ohio, and "smoldered through the night." It became so hot that
it leaked onto the plant floor from the hopper where it was
burning, he said, creating a "more complex" situation than if
it had remained in its container.
The fire department responded to
RTIs call around 8 a.m. March 6 and stood by for an
estimated six to eight hours until the fires temperature
started to fall.
The impact on operations at RTI
Alloys was not immediately clear as an RTI spokesman did not
return calls for comment.
The Pittsburgh-based company
produces ferrotitanium at RTI Alloys. Its also the site
of RTIs new plasma-arc furnace thats part of the
firms drive to make inroads into the aircraft engine
market in contrast to airframe work, which accounts for the
bulk of its titanium business. RTIs main mill products
operation is in Niles, Ohio.
The companys preliminary
estimate of the damage was $30,000, said Whitlatch, noting that
this was just a "ballpark figure" and that the actual damage
probably wouldnt be tallied until the fire cools, which
could take a number of days.
He noted that a fire of this
type would normally result in the hopper being taken outside
the plant until its temperature drops, but this wasnt
feasible at Canton since it had escaped its container.
Titanium fires cant be
extinguished with water, Whitlatch pointed out, and RTI
employees acted to douse it with a salt solution. RTI called in
the fire department for assistance in case some type of
"catastrophic" situation developed, he said, calling the
companys response "professional."
"It really wasnt an
extremely hazardous situation," he said, although its
nevertheless a concern whenever a fire breaks out inside a