UPDATE: Fire at Watson Recycling in Oronoco caused by lithium-ion batteries

Fire at Watson Recycling in Oronoco caused by lithium-ion batteries

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(ABC 6 News) — Crews were on scene of a fire at Watson Recycling in Oronoco on Monday. Smoke could be seen from Highway 52.

Pine Island Fire Department received a call at around 9:15 a.m. about a possible fire emanating black smoke.

According to the Pine Island Fire Department, the fire started in the junkyard of Watson Recycling.

The owner of the facility believes improperly disposed of lithium-ion batteries may have caused the fire.

“If they’re punctured in anyway, they will spontaneously combust. It’s a big problem right now in the recycling industry,” said Jeremiah Watson, the owner of Watson Recycling.

Due to the location of the fire and windy weather, the fire presented several challenges to firefighters.

Firefighters were forced to go back and forth between the fire and water sources in order to put out the fire.

As fire crews realized they would need more water to put out the fire, Oronoco Fire was called in to supply extra water tanks.

Contributed by the Pine Island Fire Department

Nearby cranes assisted in putting out the fire by picking up debris, which firefighter could then put out, to help clear a bath to other fires.

We probably would have been here for days trying to put it out without their help moving material out of the way.” Brandon Sather, the Pine Island Fire Chief.

Due to the fire, Watson plans to meet with staff on how to prevent an incident like this from happening again.

No damage to the cranes was reported, as they were watered down to prevent catching fire. No structures near the fire sustained damages. No injuries were reported.

Watson urges anyone with lithium ion batteries to not recycle them at their facility.

Instead, would-be recyclers are asked to visit the Olmsted County Recycling Center in Rochester.