ST. GEORGE — About 7:15 p.m. Monday, emergency crews responded to a structure fire at Interstate Steel and Supply, a metal recycling place on Red Cliffs Drive near the border of Washington City and St. George.
A garbage can next to a steel storage box in the parking lot was found to be on fire and quickly extinguished by fire crews, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said. The storage box is used as the company’s office space and storage.
Luckily, the enflamed garbage can didn’t spread to the storage box, which was a concern, Stoker said. However, there was minor damage to a fridge that was next to the garbage can plus the outside of the storage box incurred long burn marks. The garbage can was burned to the ground.
Traffic was stalled for a short period of time along Red Cliffs Drive while emergency crews cut the padlocks on the gate to gain access to the storage box.
The fire was initially reported by someone driving on Interstate 15 which runs adjacent to Interstate Steel. The witness reported that the fire was over 10-feet-high, Stoker said. Traffic on northbound I-15 also slowed for a short period of time.
The business was closed and no one was on scene, Stoker said. It is currently unknown how the fire started but the fire department will be doing an investigation, he said.
The business does do cutting in the area the fire started in. “It could have been a spark that got in to the debris or something,” Stoker said. “It could have been a number of things that could have just been smoldering.”
The fire was extinguished quickly using a hose line from the front bumper of a fire engine. No fire hydrant was used. Water was pumped from the water storage tank in the fire engine, Stoker said.
This fire in particular had some kind of metal in it that was water reactive. It sparked a lot which caught the fire crew’s attention Stoker said. This occurs sometimes in fires that start near certain metals, he said.
For this reason crews were standing a good deal away from the fire to spray it down.
“It’s always a concern in these metal places that you get magnesium or some of these metals that are water reactive when they’re burning and they can explode pretty tremendously,” Stoker said.
The fire was completely extinguished but fire crews were still on scene at approximately 7:45 p.m. waiting for the business owner who was reported to be in route to the scene.
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