According to local news reports, a fire broke out last Thursday in a kiln at Acme Diecasting Corp., Northbrook, IL. Firefighters allowed the blaze to burn itself out and no one was injured, according to The Northbrook Star. There is no report of damage.
Apparently, a crack in the kiln allowed oxygen to enter the combustion chamber and caused molten magnesium to ignite, according to Jeff Lewis of the Northbrook Fire Department. It was decided that water would exacerbate the problem (water reacts with magnesium) so firefighters constructed sand berms around the kiln and allowed the fire to continue until it was exhausted. They estimated the blaze reached 1,800°F at its peak.
Though no harmful smoke was noticed, workers were evacuated from the scene and firefighters used forklifts to relocate magnesium metal from the site in case the fire had spread.
Acme produce diecastings in aluminum, magnesium, and zinc using traditional and vacuum casting processes.