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Employees evacuated at South Bend sheet metal company

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Employees at General Sheet Metal Works were evacuated early Thursday morning after a machine inside the plant caught on fire.

Fire officials said an electrical wiring malfunction sparked the machine fire inside the plant, located on the 1900 block of S. Main Street in South Bend, just before 1 a.m.
The Battalion Chief, Carl Buchanon, said crews evacuated the building as a safety precaution.
“The building was filling up with smoke, and because of the contaminants involved, it was best for all of them to get out,” said Buchanon. “We didn’t know the extent of how far it was going to go, and for their safety, to make sure everyone gets out and is safe, we wanted to make sure the whole plant got evacuated.”
Buchanon said it could have been a lot worse; at some companies, there is only one kill switch to turn off the power to the entire plant. But, Buchanon said it was easy to turn off the power to the single machine, and stop the fire from getting out of hand.
“Once they were able to cut the power off, it seemed to subside, did use a fire extinguisher, so didn’t have to use any of our tank water,” said Buchanon.
Crews blocked off the block on S. Main Street to traffic.
Employees were able to get back to work within half an hour.


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