MOUNT VERNON — Sparks from a cutting torch are believed to have started a fire at the old PPG plant on Monday afternoon.
Construction crews were cutting the last four bolts that connected two buildings when a spark caught on a piece of the structure and ignited the fire.
Fire Chief Chris Menapace said the fire involved the first and second stories and was extending into the third story when firefighters arrived. The crew had extinguished 90 percent of the fire with hose lines within about 20 minutes, utilizing 10,000 gallons of water.
It was then determined that an interior upper section of the building was still involved with fire, Menapace said. Construction progress at the site made it difficult at times for firefighters to safely reach these interior portions where the fire began.
“This would have meant us placing firemen on rooftops with fire underneath them or on catwalks which had been severed by the ongoing construction,” said Menapace.
Workers with the construction company were called back to the scene to assist in collapsing portions of the facility to pull the fire down to ground level.
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