None hurt in fire at asphalt plant, where two died in an explosion last year
GLENVILLE -- Emergency personnel remained on scene at the Mohawk Asphalt Emulsion plant all day on Thursday, where an early morning fire broke out. Officials say there are no findings of any sort of contamination in the air or water after the fire sent flames and smoke billowing into the air, where many nearby say they saw, and felt, what happened.
"I actually thought somebody hit our building with a car."
Joanna Dewey says it was no ordinary morning at her Glenville eatery, the Sky Port Diner.
"I was at the grill like I usually am on Thursday mornings, and I felt this big, pressure in the air, I thought the building was collapsing or whatever," Dewey said.
She says she looked out to see huge clouds of black smoke. She learned they were coming from Mohawk Asphalt Emulsions, where a similar incident last year resulted in the death of two workers.
"We knew of the explosion last year and we were praying to God it wasn't as devastating as last years," Dewey said.
"The last time we were here was a bad, bad day," Thomas Corner Fire Chief Garth Riccio said.
Riccio says multiple crews arrived on scene early Thursday morning and got everything contained in an hour. He says it wasn't an explosion - that tar products and a tank caught fire. The DEC was also on scene and determined there were no spills into the Mohawk River. They're all investigating the cause of the fire.
"We will follow up, and we'll follow up with the fire department and maybe the police department and our own interval police department is going to check to see if there's any violations," said Matt Franklin, director of emergency management with the DEC.
We reported this summer that the company paid a $17,000 fine for the violations that resulted from the incident last year.
"Yes there is a concern, but they're two separate incidents, and until we find out how the actual fire started, we can't make any rulings at this time," Chief Riccio said.
The chief does say there were workers directly near the spot where it happened - but they all did the right thing and evacuated.
"Nobody got burned. Facilities can be replaced. People can't."
We spoke with a representative from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration - he confirmed to us that an inspector was on scene on Thursday and an inspection has been opened. He says it's too early to know when this inspection will be complete - but if it does identify more violations, citations will be issued. No other violations besides the two from October were found for Mohawk Asphalt Emulsions on OSHA's website.