International Inc.s Richmond, Va., facility was hit by a
fire the morning of May 3 as workers were cleaning up from a
blaze at the same location less than two weeks earlier.
"During the cleanup process,
fire ignited," a spokesman for the Beachwood, Ohio-based
aluminum company told AMM. "We were starting the
recovery process (from the previous fire), which involves
cleaning the furnace and also repair work."
The blaze occurred as steel was
being ground as part of efforts to replace a section of
ductwork at the plant, the spokesman said. The fire was
confined to external ductwork and didnt enter the
facilitys "furnace proper," he said.
The cause of the blaze
wasnt immediately certain, although it was speculated
that the grinding of ductwork produced sparks that might have
ignited aluminum particulate or other dust, the spokesman
The impact of the latest fire on
production and the extent of any damage also werent
immediately clear, he said, adding that the plant was evacuated
as a matter of routine safety protocol and there were no
Local firefighters responded to
the incident, and Aleris is currently assessing the situation,
the spokesman said.
The fire has been extinguished,
according to the spokesman. "There are no visible flames," he
said, but noted that a sand blanket has been put down as a
The Chesterfield (Va.) Fire and
EMS was dispatched at 9:23 a.m. and the fire was deemed under
control at 12:01 p.m. May 3, a fire department spokesman said,
adding that no injuries were reported.
A fire broke out at the Richmond
plant April 24 in a tower involved in aluminum production (
amm.com, April 25). Damage was initially thought
to be minimal, and finishing and cold-rolling resumed April 25
amm.com, April 26).
But Aleris later realized that
the facilitys furnace had suffered more damage than
expected, and said production could be down for two to three
weeks. Aleris said at the time that customers would be served
from capacity at other company plants (
amm.com, April 30).
The spokesman said May 3 that
the April 24 fire didnt cause any structural instability
in the tower.
The Richmond facility produces
3025 aluminum sheet from recycled material, which is then used
to make products such as gutters, downspouts and aluminum