Southington fire officials investigating latest Rex Forge blaze

Southington fire officials investigating latest Rex Forge blaze

reporter photo

SOUTHINGTON — Fire officials continue to investigate a fire at Rex Forge Sunday that injured two people. 

Fire Chief Eric Heath said Monday the fire is under investigation. Two Rex Forge employees suffered minor burns in the fire and were taken to the hospital.

Firefighters responded to Rex Forge, 355 Atwater St. about 2 p.m. Sunday. Police said smoke was rising from the building when fire crews arrived.

Battalion Chief Glenn Dube said the fire started after a mechanical failure in two large presses. Oil and grease ignited, and the fire extended into the walls, ceiling and roof.

The company has 11 mechanical forging presses ranging from 1,600 to 4,000 tons, its website notes.

Rex Forge is located next to the Quinnipiac River. An official from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was reportedly monitoring the situation for contaminated runoff. DEEP could not be reached for comment Monday.

Since 2010, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has investigated six cases against Rex Forge. The company paid $1,600 in fines in 2015, $67,000 in 2013 and $13,000 in 2010 for violations. It was not immediately clear Monday if OSHA was investigating Sunday’s fire.

In August, OSHA initiated an investigation after a man suffered serious head injuries in an accident.

In 2012, one of the company’s buildings was destroyed and 1,000 gallons of light waste oil spilled into the Quinnipiac River after a fire. In 2014, a fire broke out in the roof of the metal forging plant.

Rex Forge was also the site of fires in 1998 and 2003.

Heath said the company is not subject to fines or penalties for multiple fire responses because it is a taxpaying entity.

Rex Forge is a manufacturer of closed die hot metal forgings, and has been in continuous operation since it was founded in 1867, according to the company's website. Rex Forge did not comment on the fire Monday.
Twitter: @BryanLipiner


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