Fire at Hammond gas facility safely contained

2013-05-01T20:35:00Z 2013-05-02T12:33:07Z Fire at Hammond gas facility safely containedTimes Staff nwitimes.com
May 01, 2013 8:35 pm  • 

HAMMOND | A fire at Linde Gas Co. in the 3900 block of Michigan Street on Wednesday temporarily shut down nearby roads and a portion of Cline Avenue.

The fire started in one of the company's buildings that housed an acetylene tank, which is a fuel used for welding, Hammond Fire Chief Jeff Smith said. Company officials advised firefighters to back off from the building because there was a chance an explosion could occur.

Hammond Fire Department Deputy Chief Kevin Margraf said officials monitored the flames inside the building from a distance using binoculars. He said the flames never spread, and there were no more than three cylinders that were on fire.

There was no smoke or flames seen coming out of the building.

Officials weren't sure Wednesday afternoon how the fire started and said the company would conduct its own investigation.

The flames were contained to inside the building, which appeared to serve as a loading dock for cylinders filled with gas, Margraf said. A large truck filled with cylinders drove off the property about 4 p.m.

The building's sprinkler system was used to pour water over the tank to put out the fire. The fire was put out by 5 p.m., and traffic was flowing through Michigan Street near the site.

There were no reported injuries. There was no exterior damage to the building where the fire occurred.

Margraf said acetylene had the ability to create a more wide-spread fire.

"It could have been ugly," he said.

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