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No injuries in blaze at Georga-Pacific MDF plant in Mount Jewett, Pennsylvania

PENNSYLVANIA (From news reports) -- There were no injuries at an early morning fire Monday, May 17, at the Georgia Pacific Medium Density Fiberboard plant in Mount Jewett.

When asked the scope of the blaze, GP spokesman Rick Kimble said, "This is a fairly large industrial complex. There are no small fires."

Fire departments from Mount Jewett, Hamlin Township, Kane, Smethport, Lafayette Township, Wilcox, Johnsonburg, and Crystal VFD of St. Marys responded to the two alarms just after 2 a.m. Monday.

The fire was reported to be under control at 4:45 a.m., but the facility was closed off to company officials until Monday afternoon, as crews were working to extinguish hot spots. Around 3 p.m., Kimble said, "They just got access back to the site because the fire department was keeping everybody away."

However, at 3:45 p.m., first responders were called again to 149 Temple Drive for what was dispatched as a working commercial building fire. Mount Jewett Fire Department and Ambulance were dispatched, and at 3:57 p.m., the Kane Volunteer Fire Department with Tower 5 was dispatched.

Kimble said later on Monday that company officials called the fire department back to the scene for a "hot spot in the ceiling." He added that they were awaiting approval from the fire department to reenter the facility.

Referring to the earlier fire, Kimble had explained that the facility is equipped with an automated, industrial sprinkler system. "They worked exactly the way they were designed."

Between the sprinkler system and the fire departments extinguishing the blaze, there was a considerable amount of water on the floor of the plant.

The crew that normally makes MDF was instead working to clean up the facility on Monday.

While Kimble said the cause and origin of the blaze remains under investigation, he said it was in the press area of the plant. "It was a structure fire, it was not in the equipment," he explained.

However, they were unable to determine by late Monday afternoon if the equipment had been damaged.

And there was no way to know when they could reopen the facility to begin making MDF again.

"The warehouse was not affected," Kimble said. "The shipping will be able to continue as long as there is product to ship."

Multiple other fire companies were on standby status Monday morning, including Norwich Township, Port Allegany, Lewis Run, Ludlow, Clermont and Ridgway.

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