WHITE TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Plumes of smoke poured from a printing plant in Indiana County Tuesday morning.
The massive and stubborn industrial fire burned for several hours, and four firefighters had to be treated for injuries.
Indiana County firefighters say the blaze broke out just after 8:30 a.m. in a printing press at Creps United Publications on Christy Park Drive in White Township.
Aubrey Frye live across the street from the plant.
“I looked out my window, and all I could see was black smoke,” she said. “It was crazy.”
Fifty employees working the morning shift got out safely, but the fire spread quickly and became dangerously hot.
“The ceiling temperatures were over 1,200 degrees,” said Ron Moreau, of the Indiana County Fire Association. “The guys made a quick hit, but it was so hot in there. It’s a steel building with a steel roof and all that paper and all that heat, it just kept it all in.”
The company produces advertising inserts for newspapers on the East Coast.
In addition to the extreme heat, the roof collapsed and firefighters had to cope with a number of explosions because of chemicals in the building.
“So, we had a lot of paper, we had a lot of ink, we had a lot of oils to keep the machinery lubricated and some solvents and a lot of that’s what was popping off in the back of the building,” Moreau said.
Four firefighters were evaluated at the hospital for unknown injuries. Eventually, the fire was brought under control, but Indiana County firefighters needed lots of help.
“We’ve got crews here from Kittanning, Greensburg, Ebensburg, plus a dozen or more departments right here from Indiana County,” Moreau added.
On Tuesday afternoon, the owner was waiting to go inside the building. He says he intends to rebuild.