Westfield fire caused by melting wax, propane

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Westfield Fire investigators have determined that overheating wax in a 55-gallon drum started a dangerous fire in the loading dock of a Westfield packaging distribution company Monday morning.

Westfield Deputy Fire Chief Patrick Kane told 22News Westfield Fire Prevention and the State Fire Marshal have determined the cause of the 9:17 a.m. fire to be “accidental.”

Deputy Kane said workers were heating the wax in two 55-gallon drums in the rear of JC Danczak Inc. at 66 South Broad Street. “They were using propane heaters to melt the wax,” Kane said, “The wax overflowed and melted the hose to the heaters, igniting the propane, pallets, some containers and a trailer backed up to the loading dock.”

The fire triggered eight sprinkler heads. Deputy Kane said there were two 100-pound propane tanks on the loading dock, and ten 100-pound propane tanks in the next room.  They did not catch fire, and there were no explosions.  Everyone got out safely.  No one was injured.

The owner of the business, Robert Danczak told 22News, “I keep asking myself how in the world did something like this happen? …We thought we were keeping good safe practices in the way we handle our products.”

The packaging and distribution company recovers and recycles candle wax. One of the products they make are wax-based fire starters, according to Kane.

Deputy Chief Kane told 22News there was smoke damage throughout the building and extensive water and fire damage as well.  He estimated the damage at $150,000.

Kane said the business would not be ready to re-open Tuesday morning.  It was unclear when they would be able to return to full operation.

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