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Thermostat Failure Led to Fire at Oxford Machine Shop 

OXFORDAn explosion and fire last night at a machine shop in Oxford was caused when the thermostat in a large storage container failed, Oxford Fire Chief Laurent R. McDonald and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said today.

Oxford firefighters responded to the area of 35 Industrial Park East at about 9:30 last night after the property owner received reports of an explosion and alarm activations. On arrival, firefighters found a fire at a CONEX container that progressed to two alarms. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire in about half an hour.

Based on reports of acrid smoke at the scene, firefighters used meters to check for air quality hazards but found no readings of concern.

The origin and cause of the incident were investigated by the Oxford Fire Department and the State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office. Based on an examination of the scene, investigators jointly determined that the container had been used to store large drums of metal shavings with water soluble coolant sludge in a temperature-controlled environment prior to disposal. Investigators determined that the thermostat in this container failed, leading to a reaction and fire.

The explosion badly destroyed the container and caused structural damage to the adjacent building but does not present a health hazard, Chief McDonald said.