Across the manufacturing industry, industrial sheet metal is the number one most common type of metal in use today. Though this metal is extreme useful, durable, easy to work with, and essential to modern life, like all great tools it also can be quite dangerous. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the metal fabrication industry is projected to grow by 9% from 2016 to 2026.
Actually handling sheet metal is dangerous, yes, but it’s the flammability aspect that really puts workers and other people in danger. Across the United States, more and more sheet metal plants and buildings have been catching fire as of late, prompting concern within the industry.
According to the Ames Tribune, an agricultural construction company’s metal building suffered $300,000 in damage after a structural fire. The flames damaged both the interior and the exterior of the building and a large portion of the sheet metal on the outside of the building had to be removed so emergency crews could tend to the fire.
In Kalamazoo, crews from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, Oshtemo Township Fire Department, and Parchment Fire Department spent hours putting out another fire at an old sheet metal plant.
The building has been vacant for a few years, and has had some serious structural issues before the fire, including a missing roof, but there weren’t any utilities inside the building anymore that could’ve caused the fire. A full investigation is still ongoing and there is no cause of the fire at this time.
Also, Ray’s Heating and Sheet Metal was destroyed after a mid December fire in Montana.
The Montana Standard reports that people were able to see smoke coming from the building around 11 a.m. and by 11:45 a.m. the entire building was engulfed. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
“We have collected a large amount of information on this fire and are still in the process of reviewing that information to determine the cause,” said Fire Marshal Brian Doherty.
While home fire rates have dropped 19.5% since 2002 due to advancing technologies, non-residential fires have increased every year since 2010. While that’s largely because of the increasing number of data centers, there are a variety of reasons.
The recent spate of fires in the sheet metal industry could be another, which has the metal fabrication industry taking a second look at fire safety in 2018.