VINELAND - Firefighters doused an oil fire that erupted Monday in a glass factory.
The fire was reported at 4:38 p.m. at Gerresheimer Glass Co. at 91 W. Forest Grove Road. The company makes scientific glassware such as test tubes.
Firefighters arrived to find light smoke in the building, which had been evacuated of its employees after one pulled the fire alarm. Nobody was injured.
The source of the fire was a ventilation system over one of the glass-making machines, Vineland Fire Department Lt. Tony Saltar said. One of the ventilation ducts leading to the roof was ablaze, he said.
About 31 firefighters responded to the two-story building. Some fought the fire from the roof after dismantling the ventilation ductwork and finding hot oil pooled there, Saltar said.
One firefighter narrowly escaped injury after some of the scalding-hot oil spilled onto his turnout gear and damaged his air tank, Saltar said.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but Saltar said it appears the oil in the ventilation machinery caught fire.
"The greatest danger is the fact that it's an oil fire. You have more possibilities of spreading the fire. You can't ventilate right away," he said.
The plant's employees provided technical assistance to help firefighters determine the best way to extinguish the blaze, he said. Saltar said the employees followed the proper safety protocols.
The fire was extinguished at about 5:12 p.m. Some nearby ventilation systems were shut down as a precaution, but employees in other parts of the building were able to return to work.
"It's a very large structure. The ceilings were very high with a lot of ventilation from the structure itself, which was good for us," Saltar said.
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