Cause of Canton Fire, Chemical Scare Released

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CANTON, Ohio – An industrial fire in Canton that caused a chemical scare leading to school closings and the evacuation of a 21-block area was ruled accidental by human error.

It happened at the former Convoy Containers Company plant last month and impacted people living near 22nd Street NE and Maple.

Canton Fire Chief John Whitlach confirmed two workers, hired by a scrapping and recycling company that leased a part of the facility, were trying to remove blocks of sulfur in a large vat.

Friction that was created in the process likely caused the fire.

Potentially toxic smoke containing sulfur dioxide drifted into the surrounding neighborhoods, driven by shifting winds.

No injuries or illnesses were reported.

Whitlach said the fire department does not intend to issue any citations at this point, but the investigation is ongoing.

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1 Comment

  • Tracy

    I do not believe ordinary friction can cause pure sulfur to ignite. It takes more than this to make sulfur ignite, or Boy Scouts and campers, etc… would be rubbing 2 pieces of sulfur together to make a fire instead of a flint and stone. I think someone had to ignite it with a spark, cigarette butt or extremely hot instrument of some sort. Sulfur just does not ignite by itself with a little bit of friction.

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