COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (21Alive) - A Columbia City fire left workers and residents in the dark last night, with many being evacuated from their homes.
At about 11:30 last night, Columbia City firefighters were called to C & R Plating factory in response to, what they thought, was a chemical fire. About twenty-seven firefighters from Columbia City and six surrounding township departments came to the scene, as well as numerous police departments, hazmat, and the Fort Wayne Health Department. 400 to 500 residents were evacuated from their homes surrounding the factory, totaling around 200 residences. The American Red Cross set up a shelter at a nearby church, “The First Church of God.” Within two hours, the firefighters had the fire out.
The fire was not a chemical fire, as originally thought, but a dryer box fire. At around 4:30 this morning, the scene was all clear and residents were able to return to their homes.
“The residents gave me the call, and did a great job of keeping obviously peaceful and even though they were inconvenienced, [the residents] had a great spirit which I think you find in most of our residents here in Columbia City,” Mayor Ryan Daniel said after his press conference.
As for the business, they now have to decide how to repair or rebuild parts of their building that were damaged. No known injuries or continuing health risks are known at this time.
Whitley County officials issued the "all clear" after a large chemical fire at a Columbia City factory.
Southwest portions of Columbia City were evacuated overnight after the fire broke out late Friday night at C&R Plating, 302 Factory Ave., according to the Whitley County Emergency Management Agency.
People inside homes and businesses south of Market Street, between Main & Oak Streets, to the south city limits were forced to leave. An evacuation shelter was set up at First Church of God, 1200 W. Depoy Dr.
The evacuation order was lifted and all clear given around 4:30 a.m. Saturday.
C&R Plating specializes in electroless nickel , zinc and zinc-alloy plating; and employees 60 people, according to the company website.