MENTOR, Ohio -- An industrial fire lit up the sky in Mentor Friday morning.
Hydraulic oil caught fire, setting off a series of barrel explosions at Metal Seal Precision on Tyler Blvd.
The flames shot out of the roof top while black smoke lingered for miles.
"There was a building right next to ours and I could see flames coming over the top and the smoke was going even way higher than that," said Adam Burney.
Burney didn't evacuate but did leave for a few minutes only to encounter a blocked road.
Seventeen area fire departments responded to the blaze. Firefighters were called about 10 a.m. and arrived to find fire coming through the roof, Battalion Chief Kevin Edmond said.
For safety reasons, firefighters kept people away within a one mile radius. According to the EPA, there are more than 1,600 households within a mile radius of Metal Seal Precision.
They say the burning oil was heating up other 55 gallon drums, causing them to boil and explode.
"Basically the tops pop off of those drums and they add fuel to the fire," said Battalion Chief Kevin Edmond with the Mentor Fire Department.
All 200 employees escaped in time thanks to special doors and sprinklers which kept the fire contained to one area.
Some of the oil leaked into a nearby creek but didn't not leave the company's property.
Those who couldn't drive through the barricade walked, like Curtis Banks who was determined to pick up an order for a customer.
"At least the customer will be satisfied and you'll get your product, thank you," smiled Banks as he pointed into WKYC's camera.
The company makes components for the following industries: firearms, gas distributors and fittings, power sports, agriculture and heavy-duty off-road construction.
According to the OSHA website, the company has been fined $50,000 for safety violations this year. A number of the violations were for "the control of hazardous energy."
"This standard covers the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which the unexpected energization or start-up of the machines or equipment, or release of stored energy, could harm employees. This standard establishes minimum performance requirements for the control of such hazardous energy."
The investigation will start on this fire as soon as some collapsed walls are fixed.
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