Columbus Fire assists Zinc plant fire
Town took ladder truck for 8 hours Sunday
MOORESBORO—The Columbus Fire Department was one of several departments who was called to assist a large commercial fire at the American Zinc Recycling in Mooresboro, located in Rutherford County on Sunday.
The Columbus Ladder Co. 22 operated at the fire for 8 hours at the Zinc Plant fire.
Columbus was the only department from Polk County to assist with the fire, according to Polk County Fire Marshal Bobby Arledge.
The plant is located near the North Carolina/South Carolina line in Rutherford County.
Rutherford County fire officials were called to the fire around 8 p.m. Sunday. The plant was in operation at the time, but everyone got out safely.
Besides some firefighters who suffered from heat exhaustion, there were no major injuries. As of Monday afternoon, officials aid the fire was 95 percent extinguished.
An evacuation order was issued into the night because the burning plant released sulfuric acid into the air. There were about 48 homes within a half-mile of the plan who were mandatorily evacuated. An emergency shelter was set up at Chase High School, located nearby.
At one point while the fire was still burning, Rutherford County officials pulled firefighters away because their turnout gear tested positive for hazardous materials. Officials said the decision to pull firefighters away was a precautionary measure until officials could determine exactly what they were dealing with.
U.S. 221 was closed in both directions near Hines Road due to the fire into Monday morning.
All 17 Rutherford County fire departments responded, as well as mutual aid from three surrounding counties, including Polk and Spartanburg counties.
The plant, previously known as the Horsehead plant, produces zinc.
As of Monday afternoon, the cause of the fire was still unknown.