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Firefighters battle blaze at Massena’s Alcoa East

Alcoa East
Alcoa East(WWNY)
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 11:07 AM EDT
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MASSENA, New York (WWNY) - Smoke from a blaze at the Alcoa East plant in Massena raised environmental concerns on nearby Akwesasne.

Massena Fire Chief Paul Brownell said firefighters responded to a 9:51 a.m. call and found heavy black smoke issuing from a fume control stack when they arrived.

The fire was brought under control within half an hour.

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe put out a notice in the afternoon that its environmental division monitored the fire. It said smoke from the fire had generated concerns for air quality in Akwesasne. It said the smoke posed “minimal threat to the Akwesasne community.”

Alcoa put out a press release stating there was no harm to people, the environment, or property. It stated it will keep local stakeholders, including the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, informed about the cause of the incident so it does not reoccur.

Contractors had been doing demolition work on a fume control stack at an outbuilding when they noticed the fire. Hogansburg Akwesasne Fire Department provided mutual aid with a tanker truck.

The Alcoa East aluminum smelting plant closed more than five years ago throwing hundreds of people out of work. Alcoa still owns the facility.

A cryptocurrency miner, the North Country Data Center, occupies parts of the mill but was not impacted by the fire.

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