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Crews battle massive industrial plant fire in Rome | News

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Crews battle massive industrial plant fire in Rome

ROME, Ga. (WXIA) -- Firefighters battled a massive fire in Rome Wednesday afternoon.


The fire started inside the Bekaert Corporation on Darlington Drive SW in Rome. It tuned into a three-alarm fire with heavy black smoke visible for miles, forcing several nearby neighborhoods and two schools to be evacuated.

The evacuation, which extended a half-mile from the plant, remained in place until officials could ensure the smoke was not toxic. The evacuation order was lifted at sunset.

What's left are a number of questions about the conditions that led to the massive blaze. Rome's Fire Chief, Gordon Henderson, says he will launch a full investigation of fire safety conditions inside the plant.

Firefighters were finally able to get inside the plant Wednesday evening and they expect to be there through the night and into the morning to ensure the fire is completely out.

The Bekaert plant uses molten lead to make steel wire, which is used in the manufacturing of radial tires and other products.

Henderson says the molten lead erupted and started the fire – and he says he will investigate exactly what led to the accident that caused the fire.

Everyone at the plant escaped unhurt, and no firefighters were injured. The federal Environmental Protection Agency and state Environmental Protection Division are on hand, also, to make sure there is no toxic runoff getting into the ground water.

Henderson says he is not sure when the plant will be able to make repairs and reopen.