SANDY CREEK TOWNSHIP, Mercer County — Three Crawford County fire departments were called in to assist with a fire at a Mercer County production building located just across the county line.
Cochranton, Greenwood Township and Vernon Central departments assisted several Mercer County fire departments in combating a blaze at Bucks Fabricating, a storage container production facility located at 3547 Perry Highway. The fire was reported at around 8:25 a.m. Thursday, according to Sheakleyville Volunteer Assistant Fire Chief Jim Tuchek, after a passerby noticed smoke emanating from the roof.
The fire broke out in a paint booth inside the building, Tuchek said.
"They were open for business at that time, but nobody inside noticed the fire," he noted.
By the time firefighters arrived on scene, Tuchek said the fire had spread to a second paint booth and gotten into the ceiling of the building, catching insulation ablaze. In addition, Tuchek said staff at the facility had reported the sound of barrels exploding inside the facility after evacuating.
Firefighters had to cut holes in the roof in order to get at the flames. Tuchek said it took about two hours to get the fire under control.
Nobody was injured in the blaze, and the assistant fire chief said damage was relatively contained.
"It didn't spread too far into the rest of the building because they have fire doors that automatically closed," he said.
In addition, Tuchek said there wasn't much flammable material available for the fire to spread to, with the flames mostly encountering sheet metal and steel.
Both paint booths and the area around the booths experienced heat, smoke and water damage, but Tuchek said the building was not a loss and the damage appeared repairable.
No cause of the fire has been determined, and Tucheck said a follow-up investigation by his department is planned.
In addition to the Crawford County departments, Sheakleyville was assisted on scene by Stoneboro, Greenville and Hempfield Township departments. Life Force Ambulance was also called in.
While firefighting was taking place, traffic on Perry Highway around Bucks Fabricating was restricted to a single lane. Tuchek said firefighters cleared the scene at around 10:30 a.m.
Keith Bailey, general manager with Bucks Fabricating, told the Tribune via email was "thankful no one was injured in the incident" and expressed gratitude toward the first responders. Bailey also said work at the facility will resume at a later point.
"We are working closely with our employees and outside contractors to resume operations next week," he said.
Sean P. Ray can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.