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Officials: Cause of plant fire unknown

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City fire department officials have ruled the cause of a Monday fire at a Columbus manufacturing plant as undetermined.

Fire investigators did not have enough evidence to find a determining factor for the cause of the blaze at Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies, 601 S. Gladstone Ave., said Capt. Mike Wilson, spokesman for the Columbus Fire Department.

The fire started at about 10:16 a.m. in tall stacks of plastic bins that were stored in an outdoor staging area adjacent to the plant, Wilson said. Metal parts were stored in each of the plastic bins.

Four fire engines, a squad vehicle for support and the battalion chief — 15 firefighters in total — managed to bring the fire under control within about 15 minutes, Wilson said. They remained on the scene for three hours, raking at the debris and cooling it with water to ensure the fire was out.

But the area had been completely consumed in flames upon firefighters’ arrival, and Wilson said the blaze itself likely destroyed any physical evidence of how the fire originated. Firefighters also did not see anything on the plant’s surveillance video indicating how the fire started, he said.

Additionally, investigators did not find any accelerant at the south section of the staging area next to the Faurecia building, where the fire is believed to have started, Wilson said.

The fire caused an estimated $250,000 in damage, including parts and a semitrailer that burned, Wilson said.

No firefighters or Faurecia employees were injured. Two members of one family who lived nearby were treated by ambulance personnel at the scene for coming into contact with floating embers and irritation from the smoke.

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