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Dust explosion leads to evacuation of P.C. Campana in Lorain

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    Emergency vehicles gather at PC Campana In Lorain on Dec. 19.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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LORAIN — The P.C. Campana Alloy Cored Wire facility was evacuated Wednesday afternoon after a dust explosion.

Lorain fire Capt. Frank Griffith said firefighters responded to the explosion about 2 p.m. at the 3000 Leavitt Road facility. Griffith said about 5,000 pounds of calcium silicate was being mixed together from two containers. The mixing process created a small cloud of dust that somehow ignited.

P.C. Campana is a provider for the steel, foundry supplies and tube supplier industries in North America and abroad, according to its website. The Alloy Cored Wire facility is used for steelmaking.

“Wherever that dust accumulated at, it found somewhere in that facility an ignition source. It ignited, and it happens this fast,” he said snapping his fingers. “It ignites, it burns itself out.”

The heat from the explosion, he said, caused plastic items on the floor to catch fire. As a waterless facility, Griffith said the workers first used carbon dioxide extinguishers to put out some plastic items that caught fire from the explosion. The first firefighters to arrive said they could see smoke billowing from the compound by 21st Street.

The smoke, Griffith said, was most likely from the plastic on fire, and not the explosion.

“Relatively speaking, it’s a pretty safe product with the exception of it being airborne and in very fine particles,” he said.

If inhaled, Griffith said, the product wouldn’t be harmful except that it would exacerbate ailments someone already has, such as a cold or headache.

The cause of the explosion is under investigation with the Lorain Fire Marshal. P.C. Campana COO Mike Marsico said the facility was evacuated and the products involved in the explosion were taken to be tested to find what could have ignited them.

Contact Bruce Walton at (440) 329-7123 or bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Facebook @BWalton440 or Twitter @BruceWalton.
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