SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. — Dark clouds of smoke could be seen for miles after a fire ripped through Highwood USA, an outdoor furniture factory in Rush Township near Hometown.
When Crews arrived around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, heavy plumes were coming from the rear of the building where the fire is believed to have started.
The only entrance into and out of the industrial park was blocked off as firefighters worked to control the blaze.
Fire departments responded from Luzerne, Carbon, and Schuylkill Counties.
Joe LapChak from Hazleton was coming from an auction with his wife nearby when he saw the flames.
"Curiosity got the best of us, and so we come riding through and just as we saw the flames and everything and the smoke, just about here we heard the explosion," said Lapchak.
"And maybe 20 seconds late, another explosion, and the explosions were quite load and quite intense. So we went down and figured we were going to turn around and head out, but as we got down and turn around, the firetruck was already here, Lapchak said.
Employees say much of the damage was to items that were in the shipping department.
The CEO, who did not want to speak on camera, tells Newswatch 16 he's thankful all the employees are safe, and the materials can be replaced.
"I was just glad nobody got hurt, apparently nobody. The smoke was really something. Sometimes when the downdraft would come, you couldn't see. It was just black. Like nighttime," said Lapchak.