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13154Fibre Conversion Blaze

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  • Gino DiCarlo
    Feb 1, 2008
      Another former FJ&G Customer erupts in a blaze of glory!

      Broadalbin blaze damages business

      Firefighters from 5 counties respond

      By KAYLEIGH KARUTIS, The Leader-Herald

      Published on Friday, February 01, 2008
      The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

      Firefighters battle the blaze at Fiber Conversion in Broadalbin Thursday.

      View additional photos and order prints online at cu.leaderherald.com

      BROADALBIN — Approximately 150 firefighters from five counties
      responded to a massive fire at a village business that closed traffic
      on Route 29 and filled the sky with smoke visible from miles away.

      No injuries were reported from the blaze, which started approximately
      3 p.m. Thursday at a manufacturing building at Fiber Conversion at 15
      E. Elm St., according to fire officials. Firefighters still were
      applying water at the scene this morning.

      Firefighters from 20 to 30 companies responded to the blaze, said
      Chief Archie Rose of the Broadalbin-Kennyetto Fire Company. Rose said
      this morning the cause of the fire was still unknown.

      Fiber Conversion Vice President Brian MacFarland said the company,
      which began in 1909, has three separate buildings, and the
      manufacturing building was the only structure that caught fire.

      "We can't get into the warehouses, but as far as I know, they did not
      burn. I would imagine there is smoke and water damage, though," he said.

      Insurance company representatives were due to arrive this morning to
      assess the cost of the damage, he said.

      The fire appeared to have destroyed the manufacturing building and
      will affect production at the company.

      MacFarland said the company, which recycles synthetic textiles,
      employs approximately 30 people, but was unable to confirm an exact
      number when reached at his home this morning.

      "We're going to do our best to maintain everyone we have," MacFarland
      said. "This is a pretty traumatic situation for all of us."

      Some people reported for work at the company today.

      Rose said the fire is the biggest blaze he has responded to locally in
      his 14-year career as a firefighter.

      Rose said this morning they were awaiting the arrival of Fulton County
      Fire Coordinator Alan Polmateer, who would assess how long they would
      be fighting the fire.

      MacFarland said he believed the thick clouds of black smoke that rose
      from the blaze were caused by the burning of building, roofing and
      textile fibers stored in the plant.

      Rose said he was unaware of any risk from the smoke. He said the lack
      of wind Thursday allowed most of the smoke to rise away from the scene.

      Broadalbin High School students Nicole Young, 17, and Megan
      Westirling, 18, were at the scene.

      "We walked out of the school and saw all the smoke right away," Young

      Westirling said her father, a Perth Volunteer Fire Company
      firefighter, had been called from Albany to fight the blaze.

      The students said chunks of ash fell on their car as they drove to the

      "This is the biggest fire I've ever seen," said Dan Pawlik of
      Amsterdam, who watched from the opposite side of Route 29. "I saw the
      smoke all the way from Route 30. It's just phenomenal."

      To go along with the fire, emergency personnel may have to deal with
      some ice if a storm that is expected to hit today arrives.

      "It's not going to help," Rose said of the storm.

      This is the second fire in three years at Fiber Conversion. Another
      blaze in January 2005 caused by a jammed brake on a production line
      was contained in less than two hours and caused minor damage, but did
      not affect production.