Wis. Firefighters Battle Foundry Fire


An explosion at a South Milwaukee electrical plant sparked a fire that left two people injured.

Flames could be seen shooting from a foundry on Fifth Avenue early Saturday.

Fire officials said the explosion at the Appleton Electric Foundry happened inside one of its molten metal vats.

"Foundry fires are extremely dangerous where there's molten metal. So we were concerned about our people," Fire Department Capt. James Dorangrichia said.

Fire crews said two employees were injured during the explosion, but were able to evacuate the burning building before firefighters arrived. Both were taken to area hospitals.

Firefighters said what makes foundry fires especially dangerous and difficult to fight is that water can't come in with the molten metal for fear of further explosions.

South Milwaukee Foundry Fire-87.8514003753662342.91023148285111624054091

"Once the vats cooled some more, we were able to get into another aggressive fire attack, so we could put the fire out in that corner," Dorangrichia said.

Crews were also able to contain the fire to a small section of the building by knocking down the flames while on the roof.

Fire crews from a dozen surrounding areas provided mutual aid. Officials said the team effort is similar with what happened when firefighters joined forces to battle the Patrick Cudahy plant fire this past July.

"So by drawing from other resources a little bit from here, you can still have a good fire crew here and not gut the surrounding area, which is really what it's all about," Dorangrichia said.

The cause is still under investigation. There's no word on the extent of the employees' injuries.

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