Fire trucks sit outside TCAT Hartsville’s welding lab after an acetylene tank caught fire and forced a partial evacuation last week. No one was injured.

A fire at Hartsville’s Tennessee College of Applied Technology last week caused damage to part of the facility.

On Thursday, July 8, crews with the Volunteer Fire Department were called out around 10:30 a.m. after reports of an explosion in the TCAT welding shop.

After arriving on scene, it was determined that an acetylene tank had caught fire.

“It had a valve that malfunctioned and got a little flame going back there,” TCAT Hartsville President Mae Wright told The Vidette. “Nobody was hurt; we had everyone in the vicinity checked out and they got a good bill of health.”

Nearby classes were evacuated and fire units remained on scene for almost four hours, as the acetylene tank had to be kept cooled down. Once the fuel had burned off, the tank was removed from the building and the fire was completely extinguished.

“We’ll go in there and clean it out… there’s a lot of smoke. I don’t think there’s major damage because we got to it in time,” Wright added.

All classes were held Friday while damage assessment was being done. There was smoke and water damage in the welding and machining shops, Wright said. Estimates on damages were not immediately available.

“The welding class doesn’t have to go back into the shop to have class; they can do some things in the classroom,” she said. “We’re back in operation.”

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