One of Allied Air Enterprises' Orangeburg facilities was temporarily closed until officials can ensure it is safe following a fire Friday.
The fire in one of the dust collectors in the building at 240 Millennium Drive filled the building with smoke, driving employees outside. Firefighters from several agencies responded to extinguish the blaze.
There were no injuries in the fire, which was contained to the building, according to Cynthia Baker, a spokesperson for parent company Lennox International.
The facility will be closed until the company confirms it is safe for employees and operations can resume. Only the building where the fire occurred, which employs about 20 people making oil furnaces, was affected.
Firefighters were called to the building at around 2:50 p.m., according to West Middle Fire Chief Jimmy Padgett. They arrived to find heavy smoke and employees reporting a fire in a dust collector.
Firefighters used dry powder to contain the fire until the Orangeburg Department of Public Utilities could cut power to the building. They were then able to use water to extinguish the fire.
Firefighters used thermal imaging equipment inside and on top of the building to ensure the fire was out. DPU then returned power to the building and firefighters ventilated it until the carbon monoxide readings were normal.
Padgett said firefighters were helped by John King, who works for Lennox and is a volunteer with the Fort Motte Volunteer Fire Department.
"His firefighting experience and knowledge of the building aided us tremendously in keeping this fire ... at the origin," Padgett said. The building's sprinkler system also helped.
In addition to West Middle, the Jamison, Providence and Canaan fire departments responded to the scene, along with the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety and Orangeburg County Emergency Services.
"We had a terrific response," Orangeburg County Fire Coordinator Gene Ball said.
Padgett said, "Everybody did an excellent job."
Lennox International employs about 300 people at its Orangeburg plants.
Contact the writer: gcrider@times anddemocrat.com or 803-533-5570.