Industrial Fire Sends Employees Home Early

RENO, NV - About 40 employees from a local mining and metallurgical consulting firm went home early Tuesday after a small fire at their business. But because of the nature of that business, emergency crews were taking no chances. The company uses a lot of different chemicals in the course of its business.

The fire call came just before 11AM.

Evacuated employees were waiting outside Kappes Cassiday and Associates, watching fire personnel assess the situation.

Upon initial inspection, firefighters say they were able to locate the small fire in one room.

“We determined there had been a fire in a mechanical system inside. A sprinkler had activated and done its job. The fire is now out,” said Richard Nachtsheim, a Reno Fire Battalion Chief .

But according to the chief, there were other concerns.

That's because the place, as a course of business, can use certain chemicals that by themselves or when they come in contact with water or fire, can pose an additional safety hazard to fire crews and even workers.

That's the reason the decontamination unit was present as well as additional emergency crews, all of which were on standby as HazMat teams entered the building for further evaluation.

The company, fire officials say, had properly listed the chemicals used at the site, which made their job somewhat easier.

But the process of assessing air quality and other measurements would take time.

Considering the cold and no estimated time of completion, employees were sent home for the day.

And in the end, the fire department reported no HazMat situation was present.

“We are preparing to go back in, ventilate the structure and return it to the owners,” said Nachtsheim.

Security Circle was shut down for a time while the investigation was going on.

But by early afternoon, drivers who needed to use the road were able to do so.