Cause of Franklin industrial fire under investigation

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Cause of Franklin industrial fire under investigation

The cause of an industrial fire early Monday morning in Franklin has not been determined, but the city’s fire chief told this news outlet he believes it may have been accidental.

The fire started just after midnight at Next Gen Composites, 321 Conover Drive, and required fire and EMS units from Middletown, Franklin Twp., Carlisle, Clearcreek Twp., the Joint Emergency Medical Services, and the Miami Valley Fire District to assist Franklin firefighters in putting out the fully-involved fire.

A passerby saw the flames coming out of the roof and called 911.

Franklin Fire Chief Jonathan Westendorf said flames were visible from the roof as the first firefighters arrived at the business that manufactures fireproof panels.

He described the building as a large, steel-sheeted frame warehouse.

“It was pretty hot and supercharged,” Westendorf said. “There was a lot of dark black smoke and lots of heat, enough to melt the structural steel inside the building.”

He said the building is about 150-feet long and a door he touched on the opposite end of the building was very hot.

On Monday night, a Franklin fire official told this news outlet that the business was not equipped with a fire alarm or sprinklers, which is why crews were not able to respond as quickly as they could have.

Westendorf said the fire was not suspicious and was probably accidental.

However, while it was not a criminal fire, he said the insurance company’s investigation remained ongoing as of Tuesday morning.

Westendorf believes the origin of the fire was caused by a large industrial oven that caused about $250,000 in losses.

He said city officials were working with the company to relocate them to a space on Graham Drive.

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