SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield residents were evacuated from their homes following a large industrial fire at 115 Stevens Street.
Two trailers filled with magnesium chips caught fire around midnight outside fo the Joseph Freedman scrap metal factory. The fire quickly spread to a nearby 18-wheeler tractor trailer, and took firefighters hours to get under control.
Springfield Fire Department spokesman Dennis Leger told 22News the biggest problem they faced was extinguishing the metal inside the trailers. When magnesium catches fire, it’s extremely difficult to put out. Firefighters were forced to focus on keeping the flames contained until they burned out on their own.
Police officers evacuated houses close to the fire on Eureka and Duryea Street. They also blocked off Eureka, Duryea, and Stevens streets until the fire was under control, which wasn’t until 2:00 a.m.
22News was there shortly after the fire started and spoke to neighbors about the frightening night. Aaron Duffany lives on a street adjacent to Stevens, and he said “I heard like a big wash of fire come up, I ran outside and the blaze was like 70 feet in the air. I was very, very scared.”
Junius Gabriel told 22News, “We didn’t think it was nothing, and then all of the fire trucks and police cars came flying down in the street. You can see all of the black smoke over all of those houses right there, and then all of a sudden a big cloud came up.”
Many people reported hearing explosions, which was likely from the metal making popping sounds as it was burning. Leger said the fire didn’t spread to any buildings or homes, but since magnesium burns so hot, it was extremely difficult to put out. Fortunately, no one was hurt and homeowners were allowed back inside shortly after 2:00 Saturday morning.