NB plant fire ‘suspicious’

Firefighters are
illuminated by a fire as it engulfs a pallet yard on West Broadway Street in North Baltimore, Ohio late
Thursday, July 17, 2014. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)

NORTH BALTIMORE – A massive blaze that consumed a recycling business in the village late Thursday and
early this morning is being considered suspicious.
Eleven area fire departments responded to the fire at HPJ Industries, 510 W. Broadway.
North Baltimore Police Chief Allan Baer said this morning the fire was reported shortly after 11 p.m.
In addition to North Baltimore fire personnel, crews responded from Bowling Green, Findlay, Hoytville,
Cygnet, McComb, Bloomdale, Allen Township, Weston, Milton Center and Van Buren. SEE MORE
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"It
was huge," said Baer, noting that flames from the fire shot an estimated 100 feet into the air.
"It was significant."
"It could be seen in Cygnet. It could be seen, the glow, from McComb." There were also reports
that the blaze could be seen from Bowling Green.
Baer said that no one was in the business at the time, and no firefighters or other individuals were
injured.
CSX reportedly held train traffic during the incident in an effort to allow first responders to travel
easily in the area.
While no dollar amount could be placed on the damage, Baer termed it "serious" and noted that
pallets located outside the plant were a total loss. Online images of the business show that large
numbers of stacked pallets and containers were situated near the building.
The blaze was so extensive that a nearby residence and a church, the Praise Chapel PCG located at 500 W.
Broadway, sustained cosmetic damage due to the heat.
Regarding the cause of the fire, Baer said that it is being looked at as "suspicious
circumstances" and the Ohio State Fire Marshal is expected on-scene today.
Crews remained at the business until approximately 3 a.m.
"They did a great job containing (the fire)," Baer said of the firefighters.
HPJ Industries engages in recycling and refurbishment-related services, including selling new and
reconditioned packaging, purchasing scrap metal and plastic, and repairing and leasing bulk containers.
The company also has offices in Deshler and Laredo, Texas.