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Fire damages steel finishing area at Cleveland steel plant

June 16, 1997

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Fire damaged a section of an LTV steel plant, forcing nearby residents to stay indoors to avoid thick, black smoke. There were no injuries and steel production wasn’t affected.

The fire damaged a building where steel is cleaned in an acid bath. It was reported around 9:30 p.m. Sunday and was under control by two hours later.

Company spokesman Mark Tomasch said today that the fire’s cause was still unknown and no damage estimate was available. ``We have people on the scene now trying to assess what the damage is,″ he said.

Though production was unaffected, the steel cleaning line was shut down, Tomasch said. The plant employs about 5,000 people; Tomasch didn’t know how many worked in the damaged building.

At least 100 firefighters were sent to the plant.

The fire dispatcher who declined to give his name said hydraulic oil fed the fire and caused thick black smoke to spread over a wide area. There were initial concerns that hazardous materials might be involved, but no evacuations were necessary because the smoke, while smelly, proved not to be toxic, he said.

Residents near the plant were advised to stay indoors and keep their windows closed.

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