Orange City, Iowa — Some fabrication equipment was damaged by fire at an aerospace manufacturer in Orange City on Thursday, November 7, 2019.
According to Orange City Fire Chief Denny Vander Wel, about 3:25 p.m., the Orange City Fire Department was called to the report of a fire alarm at 403 14th Street Southeast, at Aim Aerospace.
The chief says they found that a machine that was used for cutting metal with a blade similar to a drill bit was cutting titanium when the titanium filings caught fire because they were too hot. He says those at the plant had the fire extinguished with their extinguishing equipment prior to the firefighters’ arrival, but they didn’t know for sure it was out. Vander Wel says firefighters checked for extension of fire and ventilated the building with fans and opened doors. He says the ventilation took a while since it is a large building.
Vander Wel says no injuries were reported.
The fire department was assisted by the Le Mars, Alton, and Sioux Center fire departments. According to the chief, “When you have a facility worth as much as this, you don’t take any chances.”
Chief Vander Wel reports that the damage was limited to the machine and some light smoke damage. He says the damage to the machine might be substantial if the extinguishing chemicals got into the controls.
He says the 40 firefighters who responded were on the scene for about an hour and a half.