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Police and fire

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Firefighters say old metal plant free of hazards

No hazardous materials were inside a shuttered metal plating plant that caught fire Saturday east of downtown, a Fort Wayne fire official said.

“There was nothing in there to cause us any concern or anything like that,” Assistant Chief Michael Miller said Sunday.

As the fire spewed clouds of smoke Saturday afternoon and evening, officials monitored the air downwind and tested runoff created by water sprayed on the fire. Those tests showed the blaze was not a threat to local residents or the environment, the fire department said.

Firefighters were dispatched about 4:30 p.m. to what was once the Wayne Metal Protection Co. at 1511 Wabash Ave. near Memorial Park. The blaze started in office and storage areas of the large plant that has been closed for some time. No one was injured.

Miller said a demolition crew razed the part of the building damaged by the fire. He said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The defunct plant has been undergoing a costly cleanup of contaminated soil and groundwater. Plans, which were approved in 2010 after a more than four-year process, called for the removal of contaminated soil from seven areas on the plant property. Also, wells were to be dug to draw out and treat the groundwater.