HOMER CITY (KDKA) – Investigators are searching for the cause of a fire at a plant in Indiana County.
It’s believed some sort of explosion at Non-Lethal Technologies in Homer City may have sparked this blaze.
The company manufactures flash bangs, rubber bullets and smoke grenades for police and military use.
Photos show thick black smoke rising out of the trees.
“All I know is the supervisor [came] running to me and said, ‘Call 911!,’” Shawna McCutcheon, an employee, said.
The warehouse that burned to the ground stored the chemicals used to make tear gas.
“The fire department initially arriving just took a staging position and did a size-up to see what really was burning,” Tom Stutzman of Indiana County Emergency Management said.
“So, once they were able to get a handle on what was burning, they made a decision to just set up master stream and fight it that way.”
Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the warehouse and keep it from spreading to nearby structures where more dangerous chemicals are kept.
Emergency management officials monitored air quality in the area and crews were decontaminated before leaving the scene.
Despite the chemicals, it was the heat that posed the biggest problem.
“Yeah the heat today with the humidity, that’s really what’s hurting these guys more than anything,” Stutzman said.
One employee was taken to the hospital for evaluation after being exposed to the chemicals, but that was believed to be as a precaution.
A fire marshal will determine the cause. The fire in the storage area is not expected to affect business operations.
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