Demolition workers disassembling a power plant in New Jersey Tuesday accidently ignited a titanium turbine in the process.
“Titanium melts at about 3,000 degrees,” Jersey City Fire Chief Steven McGill told WLNY. “It’s extremely difficult to put out. We initially tried to put foam on it with water and we had some violent reactions to it.”
Titanium is used in alloys, in aircraft, missiles and atomic reactors, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. The powdered form is used in pyrotechnics and in making welding rod, electrodes, surgical appliances and lamp filaments.
As a powder, titanium is flammable and spontaneously combustible, the health department warns. Molten or burning titanium can explode if exposed to water.
Firefighters told WLNY that the demolition crew were making test cuts in a structure housing the turbine when the fire broke out.
Flames were brought under control by 3:30 a.m. with no report of injuries.