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Fire damages aluminum company in Gainesville
Hydro ventilation unit
The Gainesville Fire Department believes a commercial fire Aug. 15, 2019, started in this ventilation unit at the Hydro extrusion plant on Old Oakwood Road. - photo by Gainesville Fire Department

A fire caused significant damage, but no injuries, Thursday at an aluminum company in Gainesville.

The Gainesville Fire Department responded at about 7 p.m. Aug. 15 to 2905 Old Oakwood Road and found heavy smoke showing outside the building.

The location is a Hydro extrusion plant that provides extrusion, machining, fabrication and finishing services as well as in-house extrusion paint lines. The company is based in Norway and is a major supplier of aluminum.

“As soon as the incident occurred, Hydro followed its emergency response protocols, evacuating the facility to ensure the safety of our employees while simultaneously contacting the Gainesville Fire Department to provide support,” said John Polinski, spokesman for the company. “We are working with the fire department to investigate the cause of this incident and with our customers to help minimize any impact on them.”

Upon entering the building, Gainesville Fire found heavy flames coming from a ventilation unit, which they were able to extinguish, department spokesman Keith Smith said.

Smith said estimates for the damage are unknown at this point.

“I have no idea how much that system costs,” Smith said. “I'm sure it’s in the thousands of dollars. I just don’t know if it’s $5,000 or $10,000. But it’s not just that unit that’s going to have to be replaced, it’s the whole ventilation system.”

The fire made its way through the ventilation system and up to the roof. The system that caught fire is used to ventilate paint booths involved in Hydro’s manufacturing process.  

“They’re inside of a booth when they paint and the exhaust system is meant to take it out of the building so it doesn’t linger around,” Smith said. “Not exactly sure how, but the exhaust system itself caught fire.”

Smith said there was only a maintenance person inside the building and he believes the plant was not in operation at the time of the fire.

There were no injuries, according to Gainesville Fire.

The fire marshal’s office is investigating.

This  story has been updated from its original version.