Update: Fire Out, Cause Unknown

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With the exception of a few hot spots, the fire that struck the Alcoa West plant Thursday afternoon was extinguished by Thursday evening.

Next up: figuring out how severely the building is damaged and what caused the blaze. State officials have already been in contact with Alcoa to offer assistance, 7 News reporter John Friot reported Thursday night.

Friot said there were at least three concerns in the aftermath of Thursday's fire - how jobs would be affected, whether the fire would change Alcoa's multi-million dollar modernization plan, and whether smoke from the rubber-coated roof contained any potentially harmful materials.

The fire - in the 'casthouse' building - broke out a little after 3 pm. At its height, fire covered the roof of the building, and thick, cascading clouds of black smoke could be seen ten miles away from the plant.

Officials said all employees escaped safely and no injuries were reported.

Alcoa spokesperson Laurie Marr told 7 News that the fire broke out shortly after 3 p.m. when a machine which melts aluminum chips malfunctioned.

She said the fire was contained to the casthouse, which is part of Alcoa's west plant.

The flames consumed the building's roof.

She said there are no indications that hazardous materials are involved in the fire.

Friot saw thick black smoke from 10 miles away.

At its height, about 75 percent of the roof of the casthouse was on fire. It took three trucks spraying thousands of gallons of water for three hours to bring the fire unsder control.

50 workers were in the plant at the time of the blaze, though only a few were near the explosion.

At least six fire departments were on the scene, including Massena, Brasher-Winthrop, Helena, Hogansburg, Norwood and Potsdam.

Watch our complete coverage.

 

- The pictures above were provided by Darren Deragon of Massena

 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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