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Coke plant fire allowed to burn out

Jan. 02, 2013 @ 10:55 PM

ASHLAND -- A fire that broke out earlier this week at the AK Steel coke plant on Winchester Avenue was allowed to burn itself out, Fire Chief Scott Penick said.

No dangerous materials were released as a result of the fire, Penick said Wednesday.

"The (state) Environmental Protection Agency was in and monitored it," he said. "We had crews up there last night and again this morning. There was no product in the building that would have caused a problem."

The building was used to remove coal tar in the coke-making process, he said.

One of the buildings at the coke plant caught fire Monday afternoon as contractors with NCM Demolition and Redemption of Charlotte, N.C., were working to tear down the plant, according to city officials.

The building that caught fire was among those slated for demolition, according to Penick. The contract employees were cutting openings in the building to get it ready for demolition.

The demolition work was expected to continue through the middle of the year, according to a company spokesman. The demolition work has been under way for about two months. This was the first time the fire department had to be called to the scene, Penick said.

The coke plant shut down in 2011, putting about 100 employees and 250 contract employees out of work.