Early Thursday morning fire crews from Chemtura and Elmira responded to a vent stack fire at the chemical plant, located at 25 Erb Street.
The fire, which started just after 3:30 a.m., only lasted for a few moments but the timing couldn’t have been worse for the company, as the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee had just wrapped up its first of two orientation sessions hours earlier at the township council chambers following a lengthy layoff going back to last fall.
According to plant officials the fire was contained to piping that vents emissions from two reactors in the synthetic oil production section of the plant. An employee noticed the fire and activated the emergency stop mechanism, causing the fire to self-extinguish before township fire crews arrived on scene. The emissions were ignited by an unknown source, and while the cause of the fire is still under investigation, plant officials said that the lightning storm Wednesday night may have been a source of the ignition.
“There were no injuries and no property damage,” said plant manager Jozef Olejarz. “The fire was immediately contained and extinguished. The fire department did a great job, they arrived and did inspections and then they left.”