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Smoking near cardboard sparked fire at Fairfield business

Tuesday’s early morning blaze at the Innomark Communications building was caused by somebody smoking near skids of cardboard, an investigation by Fairfield firefighters found.

“They have determined it to be discarded smoking materials,” Deputy Fire Chief Tom Wagner told the Journal-News. “We think it was a cigarette that started that.”

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“We spoke with the building owners, and I think they were kind of shocked to hear their employees were smoking inside,” Wagner said. “So there needs to be, obviously, designated smoking areas outside the facility, and stress that people aren’t allowed to smoke inside, certainly around combustible materials.”

The cardboard that caught fire contained misprints and was due to be recycled, Wagner said.

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While the fire caused a lot of smoke, the building was not damaged. Firefighters estimate there was $5,000 in damage to materials inside the building.

“The damage wasn’t so much fire damage as it was smoke and then water damage, because they had two sprinkler heads go off,” Wagner said.

The blaze, reported at 1:17 a.m., was upgraded to a two-alarm fire due to the size of the building and the fact it was an industrial site.

Surveillance equipment was to be evaluated to see who was in the area before the blaze, but wiring was damaged by heat put off by the fire, so a review of video could not happen immediately.

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Under mutual-aid agreements, crews from Springdale, Forest Park and West Chester also responded to the 400 block of Distribution Drive. The last firefighters left the scene at 3:58 a.m. Nobody was injured and employees were able to return to work later in the morning at the facility, which employs three shifts.

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