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Scrap yard fire investigation continues, facility headquarters responds

NEW CARLISLE, Ind. -- The investigation of the scrap yard fire in New Carlisle Saturday afternoon continues.  ABC57 News is working for you to figure out what made this fire so destructive. 

Thick black smoke billowed from the SMS shredder in New Carlisle. 

The second fire in the facility, in just one week, called for 15 different units to respond. 

Fire crews were hindered, not just by the wind, but from the overgrown scrap pile that was too large for crews to get through. 

"We actually had to have some of the machinery move some of  those piles, so we could get the ladder truck out to the back, so we could try to save the structure," says  New Carlisle Fire Chief, Josh Schweizer. 

Something inside one of the mounds filled with rubber, metals, and scraps, caught on fire, spreading to the building nearby.

Schweizer says the pile was quite large, and that was a problem. 

"I believe they're behind in what they're doing. That's a conversation we're going to have with them," he explains. "We had access issues because of all the material was starting to pile up. The frequency of how things are starting to happen, need to be addressed. 

ABC57 News did some digging and found there are guidelines to prevent safety hazards from happening. 

According to the General Reinsurance Corporation, scrap metal recycling facilities should make sure that the stock piles do not exceet 20 feet in height, is no more than 6,000 square feet in size, and is a minimum of 50 feet away from nearby buildings. 

Schweizer says because they haven't determined a cause of the fire yet, they don't know if it could have been preventable. 

Either way, he says, things need to change. 

"That pile is growing and we need to identify why it's so big, and if there is anything we can do to alleviate that, or speed it up," adds Schweizer. 

ABC57 News reached out to the facility's headquarters and received the following statement from SMS spokesperson, Jeff Gertler. 

"We are fully committed to maintaining a safe operation and are already in the process of taking the necessary steps to avoid any similar situation at this, or any other SMS facility." 

ABC57 News will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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