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Canton's massive industrial fire ruled an accident
But the specifics of a trigger remain unknown

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
The owner of the brick factory on 20th Street NE has been ordered to clean it up, including hauling asbestos to certified landfills.
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In The Region:

Investigators are officially ruling the cause of a chemical burn that led to the evacuation of much of northeast Canton two weeks ago was an accident. But WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports what specifically triggered the accident will likely remain an unknown.

LISTEN: cause and remaining unknowns

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Canton fire investigator Mark Jackson says the blaze at a largely vacant brick plant originated in a tank from which workers had been removing hardened blocks of sulfur on Sept. 16th. They were working as recently as an hour before Jackson’s department got a call about a possible fire. hE says the firefighters who responded spotted a chemical reaction in that tank, and the area was evacuated after the fire sent clouds of toxic sulfur dioxide over the city.

Jackson acknowledges that the blocks themselves would have been hard to ignite.

“This is a company that’s been in existence for over 60 years with a production of doing coatings for boxes. And there was a lot of residue or buildup over the years. Sulfur itself does not burn. The dust, the small particles can catch fire. However we have not been able to positively recreate that event.”

The plant had been owned and operated by Convoy Containers, which went out of business in 2011. The current owner, Howard Trickett, has been ordered to clean up the site, including removing the one thing that did not burn -- asbestos -- to an approved landfill.



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