Four workers were evaluated for minor respiratory issues and released after a small, intense electrical fire was reported at a company that repackages low-level radioactive waste in central Oak Ridge on Thursday morning, authorities said.
The fire at Toxco Materials Management Center on Flint Road was reported at about 11:03 a.m. Thursday. It was in a large one-story metal building at the back of the site, said Marty Griffith, Oak Ridge Fire Department battalion chief.
Electrical equipment inside the building was on fire, and the only way to put it out was to disconnect power, which the Oak Ridge Electric Department did, Griffith said. He said the area where the fire occurred is used to repackage waste, and it is fed by 440 volts of electricity.
Once the power was disconnected, firefighters were able to put out the fire with fire extinguishers.
Griffith said Toxco workers had tried to put out the fire with extinguishers, and those taken to the hospital for evaluation could have been affected by a combination of smoke and powder from the extinguishers.
As far as he could tell, no radioactive waste was involved in the fire, Griffith said. The four workers taken to the hospital were scanned to make sure there was no spread of contamination, and the firefighters involved in putting out the blaze were also scanned and checked for radiation.
Oak Ridge firefighters, who cleared the scene at about 12:40 p.m., had to leave some equipment at Toxco because it was contaminated.
Power was restored to the buildings at the front of the Toxco property, but it will remain turned off at the back building until repairs are made, Griffith said.
The Anderson County hazardous materials truck, which is operated by Oak Ridge firefighters and housed at Fire Station Number 3 on Tuskegee Drive, responded. So did three ambulances.
More information will be added as it becomes available.