Fire controlled at Shorewood Packaging plant in Newport News, Virginia; fire department says blaze was accidental, caused by removing hopper used to collect paper dust

NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia , November 19, 2010 (press release) – City fire crews responded to the report of a commercial fire at the Shorewood Packing Plant. The 911center received several calls and fire units were dispatched at 2:15 this afternoon. The first engine arrived three minutes later to find smoke and flames coming from a silo-like hopper on the roof of the building. (This hopper was used to collect paper dust from the factory processes that occurred in this business.)

Gaining access to effectively fight the fire was problematic for the crews operating on the scene. Two ladder trucks had to be used to direct elevated streams of water into the top of the hopper to control the fire due to location of the hopper on the roof, Fire crews were also sent into the interior of the building to make certain that the fire was not dropping down into the building. The interior crews reported that only water from the firefighting efforts was coming into the building. The fire was brought under control at 3:57 p.m.

The interior of the building only received water damage. However, some of the roof structure was compromised when the bottom of the hopper collapsed due to all of the water being applied.

The cause of the fire is accidental. A private contractor was in the process of removing the hopper by cutting away the hopper’s support structure when the fire occurred. The workers were using torches and saws.

No damage estimates are available at this time.

There were no injuries to civilians or firefighters.

No additional information is available at this time.

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