CECIL TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Thick black smoke could be seen for miles around from a fire at Pretzels Inc. in Cecil Township.

It’s believed the fire started in an area vital to the company’s pretzel making operation.

“Where it started, it appeared to start in the oven area where a lot of the product was being made,” said Paul Smith with the Cecil Township Volunteer Fire Department.

Cecil Township firefighters got the call just after 6 a.m. More than 60 firefighters from 13 departments worked into the afternoon to battle the flames.

Smith said it became a three alarm fire. One hydrant near the plant was being used by an aerial truck, but a number of communities brought water to the scene in tanker trucks.

Materials stored inside the building made this a difficult fire.

“There’s a lot of baked goods a lot of cardboard they package their materials in and also cooking oils it was a stubborn fire there’s a lot of fire load in the building itself,” said Smith.

“We’re thankful everybody got out nobody was injured a lot of firefighters, employees did a great job,” said Scott Smith, CEO of Pretzels Inc.

Firefighters say they managed to save half the building. Smith said about 20 employees were inside during a shift change. He says the company is headquarted in Bluffton, Indiana and has contracts to make pretzels packaged by other companies.

“The site was unique it made our peanut butter pretzels, it was the only site that made that it certainly was and important part is an important part of our business,” said Paul Smith.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. While pretzel-making operations are down for now, Smith says they’ll meet with insurance companies to make plans to rebuild soon.

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