BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - Multiple fire departments battled a huge industrial fire in Brooklyn Heights Monday.
The alarm came in at about 3:20 Monday morning at a packaging plant, North Shore Strapping. A Cuyahoga Heights officer on patrol spotted the flames coming from Valley Belt Road and in short order there were 75 firefighters from 11 departments pouring water on a nearly inextinguishable fire.
"The intensity of the fire, how fast it moves, how hot the product burns and the fact you just can't go to the fire, we've got to maintain what's known as a defensive posture and work from the outside in," said Independence Assistant Chief Jim Wheeler.
The night sky was glowing orange for hours as flames tore through the plant. The company makes all kinds of packaging material, many of them paper or plastic, and for firefighters that combination spells trouble two ways, paper contributing to a hot fire, and plastic adding toxins. Also burned were petroleum based plastics, another danger for firefighters.
"The guys themselves we wear MSA's, air masks, air bottles even the guys up on the ladder trucks are to be wearing those when they're up over the fire," according to Wheeler.
Because it was too dangerous to go inside the attack of firefighters was a defensive one, working from the outside of the building toward the middle. It is thought the business will be a complete loss. There was no sprinkling system in the building, and no fire or smoke detectors either.
There were several explosions, making things even more dangerous, they were likely from acetylene or other storage tanks. It will be a day or two before it cools enough for investigators to get inside and try to determine a cause.
North Shore Strapping is a privately owned and operated American manufacture of packaging materials and equipment for over 30 years. It manufactures products like wire buckles, air bubble rolls, and foam rolls.