East Deer Fire at Glass Plant

Flames broke out behind the Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) Creighton plant in East Deer, Pa., last Thursday night. According to a Trib Live report, pockets of smoke could be seen coming through the ground behind the plant the next morning.

“PGW discovered visual embers and flames in a small crack in the soil about 30 or 40 yards away from its auto glass production building,” said the company in a statement. “The crack was approximately 5 to 6 feet in length and 2 to 3 inches wide.” Details on how the fire started have yet to be released. According PGW, after the fire started employees put dirt and gravel on top of the flames to suppress them until the authorities arrived.

Last week’s fire wasn’t the location’s first.

The Associated Press, reports that there has been an ongoing investigation into a fire last September that was started by coal refuse originally used as backfill for the factory site in years past. Following last week’s fire, PGW aims to pull up any weeds surrounding the area where the fire started as a preventative measure.

The company stated it has started “limited evacuation work” on the side closest to the Allegheny River last April. This was an effort to assess and continue monitoring the soil after the fire last September. After the soil tests were finished, PGW found hydrogen sulfide and flammable gas underneath its plant, according to the company.

The Creighton plant is more than 130 years old, and in 2017 the company announced that it would close this year. Automotive glass production will move to the company’s other locations and all glass operations are expected to cease at the Creighton site this week, according to the Associated Press.

The state Department of Environmental Protection and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the fire. Since no details have been made available, PGW plans to provide an update at a later time.

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