Former Chinaware Plant
Update, Wednesday morning: Video and later information added. Scroll down.
A MASSIVE FIRE IS RAGING through an entire factory complex in New Castle, Pennsylvania, at this hour (10 pm Tuesday). The fire started sometime between 5:30 and 6:00 pm in the old Shenango China plant and has spread throughout the main building.
Firefighters from several departments are working to contain the fire and keep it from spreading into a ceramics buisness that occupies one end of the facility. The fire was still out of control as of 9 pm in the city located about 45 miles NW of Pittsburgh.
Update, Wednesday morning:
WKBN-TV filed this video report recorded before nightfall:
The fire was reported under control at 8:30 pm, but it continued to burn well into the night. About an hour after the FD began operations a shift in the wind drove the fire into some nearby woods and threatened a fire engine positioned there, but the truck was saved and the woods fire was successfully put out. The containment actions also saved the aforementioned ceramics company, keeping the fire from spreading into it.
The former Shenango China firm was world-famous, but they shut down operations about 20 years ago and the building has been vacant since then.
There were some initial difficulties in attacking the fire as reported by the Beaver County Times:
(Assistant Fire Chief David) Joseph said the blaze caused problems for firefighters from the very beginning. Initial reports had the fire breaking out at Reliable Lumber, which sent firefighters onto Sampson Street instead of Grant Street, which was the optimum site.
Before the firetrucks could even roll up to the building, they had to contact the property owner to unlock gates around the structure.
Then, once the firefighters got onto the property, the first hydrant they hooked up to was dry. Joseph estimated that his crews had to run hoses around several thousand feet to the nearest hydrants, a rarity in a city that has working hydrants every few blocks. "This is the longest lay (of hoses) that I can remember," Joseph said. "The guys did a good job. They jumped right in."
WTAE-TV Ch. 4 Pittsburgh posted this video taken from their helicopter:
During the course of the fire, the roof and portions of the walls collapsed. The building is a total loss. The fire marshal has not yet been able to get inside to begin investigating the physical evidence, but three workmen who were working inside said that earlier they had chased out some intrlopers who they caught using torches to burn off wiring insulation in an apparent attempt to steal copper wiring.
The Beaver Valley Times has the latest coverage HERE.
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