Weekend fire still burning at rubber recycling plant

Theresa Bruskin

Cause still unknown at Brim?eld facility

Firefighters spray down the blaze at the Puritan Systems rubber recycling plant in Brimfield Saturday evening. Gavin Jackson | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

CLICK HERE to watch video and view photos of the fire.

The Brimfield Fire Department was still working yesterday to contain a blaze that destroyed the Puritan Systems rubber recycling plant after it ignited Saturday evening.

Brimfield firefighter Craig Mullaoy said the blaze is still being contained and the department expects to have it fully extinguished within the next few days. The fire, which was visible from Akron on Saturday and destroyed all but three walls of the plant, is being investigated. The cause is not yet known.

“So much stuff is buried, we can get 10 feet down and find another fire,” Mullaoy said.

There have been no reports of injuries in connection with the fire. Workers left the property around 3 p.m. Saturday, Brimfield police chief David Blough said the night of the fire.

About seven Brimfield firefighters and two or three trucks remained at the scene near the intersection of state Route 43 and Interstate 76 Saturday. The other departments who initially responded Saturday were no longer needed, Mullaoy said.

All further media questions were referred to Blough, who was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Brimfield police and fire officials first responded to the fire after receiving a call at around 7:15 p.m. Saturday. When they saw the magnitude of the blaze, they called in between eight and 10 area departments to assist.

Blough said Saturday night that officials originally hoped to have the fire extinguished by 5 a.m. Sunday.

Dan Salmons, 24, of Kent, a former employee at the rubber recycling plant, said the property had two large tanks holding a total of around 500 gallons of chemicals used to freeze and granulate rubber, which could explode under high pressure and heat.

Because of the risk of explosion, officials had electricity cut to the surrounding area, which included the radio tower for WNIR, which was broadcasting the Patriot Bowl live from Cleveland at the time.

Residents of an adjacent condominium complex on Sanctuary View Drive were evacuated for the night and were allowed to return to their homes yesterday.

According to its Web site, Puritan Systems is a “cryogenic grinder of rubber and plastics” that has been operating for more than 20 years. The plant uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the material, then grinds it to a fine size and can handle loads from 1,000 pounds to entire truckloads.

The site explains that because liquid nitrogen is used, the process generates no heat.

A message left for Puritan Systems yesterday was not returned.

Contact metro editor Theresa Bruskin at [email protected].