Firefighters from the Circleville, OH Division of Fire were called twice in one evening to the old Manna Pro Pet Food Co. located on Mill Street. The mill was destroyed by a raging fire that threatened an entire town with potential toxic fumes.
Just before midnight on Saturday, Aug. 23, Circleville City firefighters were called to a structure fire at the old manufacturing plant located on the city's southeast side. Circleville Chief Tim Tener was in command, and with mutual aid companies from eight neighboring departments, were able to contain and extinguish the first fire in about an hour.
Tener declared the fire out, and all units cleared the scene around 2:30 a.m. At 6:13 a.m., city police on routine patrol in the area smelled smoke and summoned the fire department back to the scene.
Tener along with other duty personnel found the three-story masonry and heavy timber structure fully involved in fire. Responding crews from outlying areas reported the fire was visible from 10 miles away.
Firefighters took up defensive positions around the fire. Numerous aerial and ground master streams were being used to protect a variety of exposures.
Crews were worried about toxic fumes as well as the raging blaze.
The major concern was a group of 35 residential structures located just to the north of the main fire building. These single-family homes are located less that 300 feet north of the fire. Flames were shooting 400 feet in the air.
As crews were taking up long term positions, Tener ordered a firefighter to do a visual reconnaissance of the exposure area. There were numerous spot and grass fires. He then ordered firefighters from two engine companies (Eng-901) to report to that area.
When the adjacent wall of the building collapsed and rained fire all over the neighborhood, firefighters were already in place to attack the numerous homes that were burning. One home was moderately damaged but quick action by crews produced a salvage operation that greatly reduced personal property loss. Due to the severity of the fire and the instability of the fire ground, investigators were limited in their research. The origin of the fire remains under investigation. Damage estimates are still being tallied.
There were no civilian injuries. Three firefighters were treated for minor injuries. All were treated and released.
Over 125 firefighters from Harrison Twp, Pickaway Twp, Scioto Twp, Clearcreek Twp, Tarlton/Saltcreek Twp, Colerain Twp, Williamsport, Hamilton Twp, and the City of Chillicothe assisted.