'Large Fire' Reported At Pike County Factory - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

'Large Fire' Reported At Pike County Factory

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Credit: Shelby Hitchens Credit: Shelby Hitchens

Emergency crews were called to what is being called a "large fire" at a factory in Pike County Tuesday afternoon.

The fire was reported at Van-Rob Industries located at 611 West 2nd Street, off U.S. 23, in Waverly, at about 4 p.m.

According to the Pike County Sheriff's Office, all employees were able to escape the building safely.

One of the company managers said a ventilation system caught on fire and the sparks from the fire spread to the roof.

Witnesses in the area said smoke from the fire could be seen from more than 3 miles away.

About 450 people work at the facility, and 200 were evacuated.

Workers inside the automotive parts plant say they didn't even know anything was wrong.

"While I was working they walked in behind us started pushing us making us get out of the building as fast as we could," says Zane Conley, a temp worker.

Conely says he was only there 30 minutes Tuesday when he and his coworkers were told to evacuate.

"It was a pretty good amount of flames. It was almost engulfed in flames," said Conely.

Firefighters say they could see the smoke nearly 12 miles away from the plant because of the rubber roofing.

"It's basically kind of like a grass fire up high. That rubber roofing burns at a slow rate like dry grass will burn so it's just getting after it, getting water on it and putting it out," said Fire Chief Randy Armbruster.

One firefighter had to be treated for heat exhaustion, according to crews on scene.

Nearly seven fire departments were called to assist. The building was severely damaged by water and flames.

The plant manager told NBC4 that the company is the third largest employer in the tri-county area.

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