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Fire Hits Chemical Plant near Pittston

JENKINS TOWNSHIP — A chemical fire at Acton Technologies near Pittston broke out around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, forcing a nearby high school to evacuate. As ...
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JENKINS TOWNSHIP -- A chemical fire at Acton Technologies near Pittston broke out around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, forcing a nearby high school to evacuate.

As giant plumes of smoke filled the air, chemicals fueled a fire, and ultimately destroyed a storage building at Acton Technologies near Pittston.

"I've never seen a fire that bad before, but I know that everyone is concerned with all the chemicals from that building and all the pollution that spread through the air just because of the significant amount of smoke that filled the sky," said Megan Curry.

Two other buildings on the property were not damaged.

Acton Industries makes chemicals used in a variety of industries, including aerospace and electronics.

State environmental officials tested the air and said it was safe, but they did find low levels of liquid plastic that had runoff into drainage ditches.

"We took a look at that and really we're just letting it flow through. We didn't see any outflow into the river. Hopefully, it can dissipate itself once it's in the storm drain," said DEP official Colleen Connolly.

The Jenkins Township fire chief said this was an especially difficult fire to fight because of the acetone that's stored in this facility. That's a chemical that's used in nail polish remover and is something that's very flammable.

Chemical companies are supposed to send local emergency management and fire departments a map of what chemicals it has and where they're stored.

"That helps us to know what's on scene and the hazards," explained Lucille Morgan, Luzerne County EMA.

If investigators find chemicals that they failed to report, the company could be penalized by the state.

"Nothing is on the table and nothing is off as far as a civil penalty," said Connolly.

UPDATE: A state police fire marshal says the fire was accidental, started by static electrical discharge.

Firefighters say one worker from Acton was taken to the hospital. Acton wouldn't comment on that person's injuries.

The fire forced nearby Pittston Area High School to evacuate.