Brimfield fire tamed, building beyond repair

Megan Rozsa

Puritan Systems blaze started Saturday night

The fire that started at Puritan Systems in Brimfield has left the building with 2 1/2 walls standing. The fire, which ignited at about 7 p.m. Saturday evening, was fully contained Tuesday.

Brimfield Police Chief David Blough said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Brimfield Police and state fire marshals are in the process of interviewing Puritan employees to get a timeline of what happened the night of the fire. He said they are still unsure of the cause.

Brimfield Fire Chief Robert Keller said fire companies at the scene Saturday evening were gradually released at about 6 p.m. Sunday.

He said two exterior storage tanks that housed liquid nitrogen were vented Sunday by a Hazmat technician and a representative from Amerigas. The tanks were considered a possible risk for an explosion.

Once the initial fire was contained, Keller said several hotspots emerged underneath the rubble.

“At first a number of hotspots erupted, and there was one large one Tuesday afternoon,” he said. “We had firefighters on the scene, so it was contained pretty quickly.”

Keller explained that the firefighters put a quick stop to the flames by spraying fire fighting foam on the remaining small fires.

“The foam essentially makes the water wetter,” he said. “It breaks down the surface tension of the water to make it drip faster. It excludes air so oxygen, which keeps the fire burning, isn’t available.”

Keller said he requested help from surrounding county and statewide fire stations because of the size and magnitude of the fire. He said more than 10 fire departments provided statewide mutual aid, including three each from Stark and Summit counties.

Close to 100 residents of the surrounding area were evacuated the night of the fire and allowed back into their homes the following day. The American Red Cross provided shelter at nearby Field High School. Blough said electricity to the area was turned back on at about 11 p.m. Saturday.

Keller said the residents responded well to the Code Red emergency system used to evacuate the premises. The fire department recorded a message and then called each resident of the surrounding area telling them to evacuate because of an emergency. The fire department also used monitor readings to determine weather patterns and wind direction so that the residents would not be sheltered downwind from any harmful air the fire produced.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was also called to the scene, and is still monitoring air quality and watching for any harmful runoff that might taint the water supply of the area. So far, no problems have been reported. The EPA is also working with the business owner to create a cleanup plan for the area.

A phone message left yesterday at Puritan Systems was left unanswered.

There are no injuries reported, and Keller said the community has responded well, flooding the police and fire departments with thank you’s.

Contact public affairs reporter Megan Rozsa at [email protected].