Johnston steel fire investigation continues

By Dana Griffin

JOHNSTON-RI- Although the Schnitzer Steel Recycling company in Johnston has been given the all–clear to reopen Monday, it's not clear how Sunday's fire started.

Schnitzer Steel Recycling is not allowed to stack metal higher than 20–feet. The mayor says if the company violated that policy, he will take action against the company.

“You know, it could be a host of different things and I think we'll leave that up to the state fire marshal,” said Schnitzer spokesperson, Colin Kelly.

Five years ago, Schnitzer had a similar fire on the property

Mayor Joseph Polisena said, “Basically, about five years ago. There were issues where cars were piled too high and the area was very narrow to where we couldn't get trucks in, and we did change that.”

The company signed an agreement back then with the city to limit the height of the scrap piles, and create wider paths.

The city is now investigating if Schnitzer broke that agreement.

“I'm not at will to say at this time, but we will look at if at any point that agreement was violated,” said Polisena.

Schnitzer would not comment on whether they were in compliance.

Another part of the ongoing investigation is whether there are any potential hazards from that thick gray smoke that spread into the neighborhood.

Despite the conditions, no one had to be evacuated. A report on that smoke is expected in the next 24–hours.

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