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Published: Thursday, 2/26/2004

Sauder fire tied to dust collector

ARCHBOLD, Ohio - The fire that injured three firefighters Friday at Sauder Woodworking Co. was attributed to a burning piece of material that was caught in the plant s dust-collection system, fire investigators said yesterday.

The fire, which was ruled accidental, caused only minimal damage to the plant on Sauder Street.

Two firefighters were treated at the scene for minor injuries. Carl Hamilton, an 81/2-year veteran of the Archbold-German Township Fire Department, suffered second and third-degree burns on his face.

Fire Chief Andrew Brodbeck said the fire began in a closed dust collector in the ceiling.

A piece of material caught fire from friction generated by a router, which the chief said apparently overheated, which could have been caused by striking metal embedded in wood, the chief said.

The ember entered the dust-collecting system, igniting sawdust and wood shavings, said the state fire marshal s office, which assisted with the inquiry.

Mr. Hamilton has been released from St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. Chief Brodbeck said Mr. Hamilton, who is recovering at home, will not return to duty for several weeks.

The blaze occurred in the plant s panel and frame door machining area. Thirty to 40 employees were in the area when a fire detection and suppression system went off at 10:51 a.m., sounding an alarm and summoning firefighters.

None of the 200 employees at work when the fire broke out in the one-story building was hurt.

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