Demolition ignites Electrolux fire in WC

WEBSTER CITY – Black smoke billowed from a blaze ignited during demolition in the Electrolux main plant building in Webster City Thursday.

The fire began at approximately 5:30 p.m., according to Mike Lund, Webster City fire chief. A construction crew from Brandenburg Industrial Services Co., of Chicago, was cleaning litter and rubble inside the building they were working to demolish.

“How they do cleanup is they have these big machines with grabbers that grab hold of these big I-beams and they put those down and they were using those kind of as a blade to push material,” Lund said. “And they think, when they were pushing that material across the concrete, they may have created a spark.”

The thick smoke that brought many onlookers was likely due to the trash the construction crew was moving, which consisted of cardboard and foam insulation.

Lund said that with the right kind of spark those materials ignite easily.

No one was injured in the fire, which was contained around 6 p.m. Firefighters began to exit the scene at approximately 7:30 p.m.

“Our guys did a nice job,” Lund said.

Because what burned was waste material, there was no monetary loss in the fire.

The Blairsburg Fire Department covered the Webster City Fire Department’s station during the fire at Electrolux. The Webster City Fire Department was assisting at an accident on the west side of town where a driver was trapped in a car when the Electrolux fire broke out.

Many community members watched as the smoke covered Des Moines Street and firefighters worked to contain the blaze in the huge empty factory that was shut down at the end of March 2011.