Cutting Torch Sparks Fire

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Tue, June 12 2012 at 4:02 PM, Updated: Tue, June 12 2012 at 4:12 PM

A huge column of smoke over Klamath Falls filled the sky as tires burned at a metals business.

Crews were called out to a fire at Hamilton Metals at around 5:30 Monday afternoon.  The fire was buring in a large pile of scrap metal.  John Spradley of Klamath County Fire District #1 says the fire was most likely sparked by a cutting torch...

"The cause was determined to be started by cutting, oxy-acetylene cutting on the metal - and they had a piece of hot slag drop into the tires."

But, it only takes a few tires to make a lot of smoke...and attract a lot of attention.   Witnesses say they also heard a couple of loud 'bangs' while the fire burned.

"I'm not exactly sure what those explosions were."  Noted Spradley.  "They could have been either tires, or possible metal tanks that were in the pile."

A 'crash tanker' from Kingsley Field was brought in to help put out the fire, and a crane was used to help dig into the pile to help find the source of the flame.

Fire crews managed to get full control of the fire shortly after seven.  Spradley adds that damage was limited to a scrap metal pile...

"Not significant damage.  Heavy column of black smoke which was caused by the fires - very impressive smoke column.  But not a very large fire, really."

Hamilton Metals was open for business as usual this morning.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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