Officials Look Into Spontaneous Combustion in Bridgeport Fire


As temperatures soared in Connecticut on Tuesday, firefighters in Bridgeport battled a blaze at a metal finishing company on Hancock Avenue.

Fire officials say it is too early to know the cause, but thet are looking into whether spontaneous combustion might have started the 8 a.m. fire at MJ Metal, which is located in an industrial area across from a recycling plant.

The company recycles metal shavings, which are stored in oil. There are many stacks of wooden pallets inside the company facility.

“If the shavings were oily in this high heat and humidity, it's premature to say, but we're going to take a look at the possibility of spontaneous combustion,” Deputy Chief Robert Petricelli said. The fire also set off some small explosions, officials said.

The heat posed a difficulty for firefighters, who had to tolerate the heat. To assist, the fire department rotated crews.

“You can really only work a guy in the protective clothing for 20 minutes and he needs to come out, get that coat off, get some wind blowing on him in the shade and drink some cool water,” Deputy Chief Robert Petricelli said.

MJ Metal handles, consolidates and packages industrial post-production metals but does not handle any automotive scrap, demolition debris, radioactive materials, PCB’s, Freon, hazardous waste or material, or any other non-industrial metals, according to its Web site.

No injuries have been reported, officials said.

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