CLARENCE (TNS) — Firefighters from at least three different counties responded to a third-alarm building fire at a Snow Shoe Township industrial plant Saturday afternoon.
Crews were called to respond to a fire at Snow Shoe Refactories at 895 Clarence Road at about 10:30 a.m. When they arrived on scene, the fire was fully involved, and there was thick, black smoke billowing above the 100-year-old plant, Snow Shoe fire company Deputy Chief P.J. Moore said.
Upon arrival, Moore said smoke was coming from throughout the facility, because all buildings are connected. But once they began investigating, they discovered the fire was contained to the maintenance building.
The maintenance building is approximately 50 by 200 feet, and contains welding supplies, tools, grease, oil and storage, according to plant manager Bill Butterworth, who was at the scene. There was a fire in the same part of the building about 10 years ago, he said.
Butterworth said they were lucky the fire was in that part of the building, and not where the actual manufacturing takes place. Because of that, he’s hopeful they be able to back up and running sooner rather than later.
“I was emotional this morning, this is my livelihood,” said Butterworth, who has worked at the plant for 30 years.
Snow Shoe Refactories manufactures high-temperature fire bricks, according to Butterworth. While 24 people work at the plant, the plant was closed Saturday and only a cleaning crew was there when the fire broke out. The crew was in the front office, away from the fire.
No injuries to the cleaning crew or firefighters were reported.
Moore said they’re waiting for the fire marshal to determine the cause of the fire and extent of the damage. But Butterworth is hopeful that they’ll be able to return to work by the end of the week.
“We need our jobs,” he said.
At least 40 apparatuses responded to the scene. Most of the Centre County stations responded, along with several from Clearfield and Clinton counties. Snow Shoe EMS also responded.