A leaking furnace at the South Middleton Township factory started the fire
Leaking glass from a furnace ignited a fire, which grew into a three alarm blaze, prompting more than 40 fire fighting and emergency services companies from six counties to rush to the Vitro Architectural Glass factory in South Middleton Township, Pennsylvania. Despite the intensity of the fire, all staff were evacuated and accounted for with only one injury reported. One employee was transported to a local hospital for observation due to smoke inhalation, but was able to return to work the same day.
According to Vitro Architectural Glass Human Resource Director Teal Gaylord, the blaze began when a leak occurred in one of the two large glass melting furnaces within the facility.
The plant, which manufactures plate glass for architectural products, employs around 340 people. Vitro took ownership of the plant in 2016 following a deal to purchase it from PPG that was announced in June 2016.
The company is working to recover from the fire and issued a written statement explaining, “Specialists and engineers continue to evaluate both lines at the plant and work to restore utility services so off-line production, such as residential insulating glass unit and glass coating lines, can resume. In the meantime, the company is working to minimize disruption to its customers’ operations by supplying glass from other Vitro facilities.”