Fire Ravages Ohio Rerefinery


An explosion and fire destroyed the processing unit of Hydrodecs transformer oil rerefinery in Canton, Ohio, on Sunday afternoon, causing no injuries but resulting in an estimated $12.5 million in damages and an indefinite shutdown.

The incident was under control within an hour and a half of workers raising the alarm, according to the United Kingdom-based rerefiner. All staff members were quickly accounted for and emergency shutdown procedures operated successfully, the publicly held company said in a Dec. 2 press release. According both to local authorities and to Hydrodec, the cause of the accident is still unknown as of Dec. 3.

Damages are estimated to be around $12.5 million, Chief Stephen Rich of the Canton Fire Department told Lube Report, although Hydrodec claims its too early for a reliable assessment.

It was a substantial fire, but was contained to the processing unit, CEO Ian Smale told Lube Report. The rest of the facility is still substantially intact. We will continue to serve our customers, and according to our agreement with U.S. partners G & S Technologies, we will continue to collect and manage oil. Feed stock and finished products in onsite storage are secure, he continued, although processing operations will be on indefinite hiatus.

The site is now safe and secure and we hope to have main power back shortly, Smale wrote in a release to shareholders on Tuesday. There will be no oil handling at the plant until power is restored; processing will only be possible once there has been a full assessment of the cause and damage, and repairs have been made. The company is working with its insurance companies and with various local authorities to find the root cause of the incident.

Finished in 2008, the 22,000-sqaure foot plant in Canton, Ohio, cost around $17 million to construct, and has capacity to recycle around 8 million gallons of transformer oil per year. Described as hydrogenation-refined naphthenic mineral transformer oil, the companys rerefined product, branded as Superfine, uses a proprietary catalyst to remove impurities from recycled transformer oil. The London-headquartered rerefiner has key operations in the U.K., the U.S., and Australia.