Lebermuth employee tries to extinguish fire, then gets everyone out
MISHAWAKA, Ind. – As the room filled with thick black smoke, David Shebell had only one option left; get everyone out and secure the fire door.
A fire broke out inside the Lebermuth Company building on McKinley Highway shortly after noon on Monday.
According to General Manager David Shebell, a stainless steel container they use to melt down powders and crystals became so hot it was glowing bright red.
Shebell and three others were in the area when the fire started.
As the smoke began to fill the room, Shebell tried to put the fire out with an extinguisher; it did not quench the flames.
Then he quickly ushered everyone out, calling out to make sure he didn’t leave anyone behind, before securing a fire door in an attempt to limit damage to just that room.
Outside, the smoke was pouring out of a side vent and then out of roof.
First responders arrived within minutes and got to work knocking down the fire.
Shebell’s watched in silence, his face stained with soot.
A short time later his daughter arrived; she was with her grandmother when they drove by the building as firefighters battled the blaze and needed to be convinced her daddy was alright.
Shebell picked his daughter up and hugged her close, her eyes clenched shut.
No one was injured in the fire. Shebell was successful in getting everyone out safely.
The extent of the damage to the building is unknown at this time.
Hazmat crews plan to finish cleaning up leaking chemicals Tuesday, before owners can get a look at the total damage.
How the stainless steel container became so hot is also under investigation.