A magnesium fire at a recycling plant in Anderson Indiana forced thousands to evacuate their homes over the weekend. It may take days to burn itself out since firefighters stopped trying to extinguish the blaze.
The fire erupted at the Advanced Magnesium Alloys Corp. plant around 5:00 p.m. Friday and explosions forced firefighters out within a few hours. No injuries were reported.
By midmorning Saturday several dozen fire and police officers remained posted around the plant but the fire had grown smaller overnight yet continued to smolder.
Magnesium is a silvery-white, highly flammable metal. Burning magnesium produces irritating or toxic fumes and is typically extinguished using dry sand since water can cause a flare-up or explosion. Firefighting authorities decided to let the fire burn itself out as they lacked the sand and equipment to extinguish it in any more effective manner. The fire began in an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 pounds of this material in one section of the plant. Twelve to 18 of the plant’s approximately 70 workers were inside at the time.
Authorities evacuated 3,000 to 5,000 people from an area in a one to two mile stretch downwind of the plant.