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OmniSource sues processor following fire

Keywords: Tags  scrap metal recycling, OmniSource, Heat Wave Metal Processing, lawsuit, Steel Dynamics, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — OmniSource Corp. is suing a contractor for allegedly causing more than $100,000 in damage in a fire at one of its North Carolina scrap metal recycling facilities.

The wholly owned subsidiary of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Steel Dynamics Inc. said in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in North Carolina that an employee of Heat Wave Metal Processing Inc. was blow-torching rotors at the Johnston County facility that were positioned for processing by an OmniSource worker who was using a Caterpillar material handler.

The OmniSource worker shut down the equipment and went into the office and was still inside 10 minutes later when a second Heat Wave employee advised him that the equipment was on fire, according to court documents.

Another Heat Wave employee had continued to torch the rotors in too close proximity to the material handler, according to the lawsuit, which claims the defendant’s employee should have known that sparks from his cutting work could travel 25 feet.

In addition to spending more than $100,000 to repair the material handler, OmniSource said it incurred an additional loss from renting a material handler while the other was being repaired.

The owner of Laurens, S.C.-based Heat Wave could not be reached for comment.

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