LAWRENCEBURG — A large pile of shredded glass and vinyl caught fire Friday afternoon at Dlubak Glass Co., a company that crushes broken automobile windshields for recycling.
No one was hurt and no evacuations were necessary, but the blaze sent up a dark plume of smoke that could be seen in Lexington, Frankfort and other surrounding communities.
Amanda Hillard, a secretary at the company, said all nine employees were out to lunch when the fire started shortly after noon.
In addition to local departments, firefighters from Lexington, Versailles, and Franklin, Jessamine and Mercer counties responded to the blaze, which was in an industrial park on Industry Drive, just off U.S. 127.
The fire, first reported at 12:20 p.m., was under control two hours later, but it briefly rekindled at 3 p.m. It was extinguished again, and no smoke could be seen from the pile at 3:20 p.m.
"When we arrived on scene, this front pile was about 50 percent involved," said Robbie Hume, a spokesman for the Lawrenceburg Fire Department. "We immediately called in mutual aid from our county agencies."
The fire was so hot initially that firefighters used remote devices to battle the blaze, Hume said.
"Once we got the heat knocked down a little bit, we were able to get in and do some interior attack," Hume said. "In the meantime, we called in partnering agencies" from surrounding counties.
Hume said he could not recall any previous fire at the plant site.
A contractor from Jessamine County was called to separate the pile with a track hoe, then spread out the charred material so firefighters could take care of hot spots, Hume said.
The city of Lawrenceburg asked residents to voluntarily conserve water for the rest of the day because so much water was being put onto the blaze, Hume said.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but Hume said there was no reason to suspect foul play.
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Officials with state Emergency Management and an environmental response team were at the site.
The company takes in broken windshields and automobile glass, crushes it and then sends it to recyclers, Hume said.
Friday's fire reminded residents of the May 9, 2000, fire at a Wild Turkey distillery warehouse in Anderson County that destroyed 1 million gallons of bourbon. Runoff from the fire killed fish in the Kentucky River and caused a temporary shutdown of Lawrenceburg's water-treatment plant. Schools and factories closed temporarily to conserve water after that fire.
Herald-Leader reporter Valarie Honeycutt Spears contributed to this story. Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.