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Tuesday, December 04, 2012 9:44 AM

Photo by Crystal Herber/The Ottawa Herald


Employees of Ernest Spencer Custom Coating, 1510 N. Davis Ave., Ottawa, look on as smoke emits from their place of business this morning. About 20 employees were safely evacuated shortly before 9 a.m. today after a fire broke out in one of the business’ high-temperature ovens.

Fire spurs evacuation at industrial park business

By CRYSTAL HERBER, Herald Staff Writer

A fire in the Ottawa Industrial Park prompted an employee evacuation this morning. 

About 20 employees were evacuated from Ernest Spencer Custom Coating, 1510 N. Davis Ave., Ottawa, after a fire broke out in one of the business’ ovens, Jeff Carner, Ottawa fire chief, said at the scene. The employees were evacuated before emergency crews arrived and no injuries were reported. 

The fire was called in shortly before 9 a.m. today and was contained within minutes. The cause still is under investigation, Carner said, as crews worked to clear the smoke from the building. 

“The fire actually was located in the center of the building in what they call a burn-off oven. It’s a high-temperature oven that they use here during daily operations,” Carner said. “The fire itself was contained to the oven. It did generate quite a bit of smoke.”

The evacuated employees milled about outside the building while fire crews worked to contain the blaze. Thick black smoke drifted into the air from one of the building’s several rooftop vents. The distinct smell of metal and smoke filled the air around the building. Carner said the smoke is not any more toxic than other fire smoke. 

An assessment of the damage had not been established, Carner said. Crews would be better able to ascertain a cause after the smoke has been cleared from the building, he said. Employees were expected to be able to return to work shortly, Carner said. 

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