By Shereen Siewert

A blaze that damaged machinery at a Merrill factory is being blamed on a mechanical malfunction of plant equipment, according to fire officials.

Crews were dispatched at about 6:30 p.m. to Northern Wire, 1100 W. Taylor St., Merrill, after flames were discovered in the plating area of the factory.

When Engine 62 arrived on scene, firefighters pulled hoselines and began attacking the fire, Merrill Fire Chief Josh Klug said.  The crew quickly brought the fire under control and limited damage to the machinery that was involved.  Mutual aid was requested through MABAS, although most units were canceled once the fire was under control. 

Ventilation fans were used to clear smoke from the rest of the plant. Corning and Pine River Fire Departments assisted on scene as well as officers from the Merrill Police Department.

All employees evacuated safely and no one was injured in the fire, Klug said.  While damage was limited to the one piece of machinery, it is unknown how long the plant will be down.