Explosion rattles recycling center in McKenzie

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CARROLL COUNTY, Tenn. — A car exploded Tuesday afternoon during a routine operation at Dale’s Recycling in McKenzie, setting fire to an entire trailer of scrap metal. Colby Cooper has worked at Dale’s Recycling for two years and said he has never experienced a day like this. “I was just sitting in the office doing paperwork, as usual. Everybody was doing their normal job,” Cooper said. “Guy loaded the trailer. Next thing we know we heard an explosion — trailer’s on fire, everyone rushes out.” Employees said the explosion shook the ground around 4:30 p.m., and people could hear it over half a mile away. “A call came in — it had multiple explosions and there was people around the city that said they actually heard it, so I think that was the way it was called in because 911 lit up,” Capt. Kevin Hill with the McKenzie Fire Department said. Cooper said loading cars on top of scrap in an open trailer is normal. “When we get done loading the shred trailer, to make sure that debris don’t get out and cover the road, we dismantle cars, strip the gas tanks off, drain the oil, abide by all the EPA regulations and then set them on top and make sure all the small pieces don’t fly out,” he said. The fire was contained within a half hour, according to the fire department. “It was an open-top semi-trailer, and it had cars and metal in it, and the fire actually started inside the trailer,” Capt. Hill said. No other property was damaged in the fire. “Luckily, nobody was hurt,” Cooper said. “For the guy that was next to it, I can’t imagine it. Just glad everybody’s OK.” The fire is still under investigation.

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