Fire breaks out at Carthage energy plant

Updated: Mar. 27, 2021 at 11:26 PM EDT
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CARTHAGE, N.Y. (WWNY) - A fire broke out at a Carthage power plant Saturday night, witnesses saying it was like fireworks and then a cloud of smoke.

The call to first responders came in just after 7 PM as heavy black smoke was seen coming out of the PetaWatt Mill at 695 West End Ave.

The building was formerly the Metro Paper Plant. PetaWatt operates as a low-cost energy supplier.

Officials say a trailer on the side of the building was full of computers and that is where the fire originated. They say there are fans that blow air out of the trailer to keep the computers cool and they started sucking the smoke from the trailer into the connecting building.

Officials ended up cutting power to the entire building as well as power to the connecting hydro-plant and the Tannery Island plant.

They say they were then able to get in and extinguish the flames.

Several neighbors came out to witness the emergency.

One witness says they saw the door to the trailer blast open. Another said it looked like fireworks, then turned into a cloud of smoke.

“Well, we were in our house and we heard a big boom and we looked out the window and we saw fireworks like one of the furnaces were going up in flames. We saw this mini fireworks show, then it went silent, and my neighbor called the firefighters,” said Cullen Willmert, who lives across the street.

Responding to the scene was Carthage, West Carthage and Black River fire departments as well as National Grid.

Officials say there were no injuries and the owner of the building has been notified.

The trailer containing the computers is destroyed. What caused it to ignite is still under investigation.

As of 10:45 PM Saturday, power was still cut off from the building.

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