Safety of river water investigated after Painesville plant fire

PAINESVILLE, OH - One day after a large Lake County manufacturing plant fire officials are voicing new concerns about the safety of a nearby river.

The ECKART Effect Pigments, a manufacturing plant in Painesville,  caught fire around 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Employees say the fire stated as an explosion and burned through a warehouse. The sound was so loud they heard it from their station located five minutes away from the East Erie Street plant.

On Sunday, ECKART released a statement that said the damage to the plant was confined mainly to one warehouse and that work at the site will resume as normal Sunday evening.

Painesville firefighters tell Fox 8 that the Environmental Protection Agency is now investigating to make sure no chemicals seeped into the surrounding river.

"The materials that were burning - the runoff water - that plant is right by the Grand River so anything that may have run off into the river is a concern," said Painesville Fire Captain John Niehus.

According to the company's website, ECKART is an international manufacturer of metallic and pearlescent pigments for paints and a variety of other materials.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

As a precaution during the afternoon, local authorities requested some area residents to evacuate. This evacuation lasted approximately three hours.

“We wish to thank our neighbors for their cooperation and understanding; we apologize for the inconvenience and disruption to their day,” says Gilles Legare, the Head of Operations.

“We want to express our gratitude to all the fire fighters, emergency personnel, and our own production team for their outstanding response to this situation. The safety of our people, our site and our community is our highest priority. We will make every effort to identify the exact source of this incident.”