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Three-Alarm Fire Breaks Out In Northern Butler County Plant

BUTLER COUNTY (KDKA) -- A three-alarm fire broke out at a plant in northern Butler County early Saturday morning.

Emergency crews were called to the scene around 8 a.m., and the Butler Eagle reports that firefighters had the fire under control after about an hour, but were still at the scene around 10 a.m.

The building, located on Route 38, was a processing plant for Oxbow Activated Carbon, which acquired the plant from Superior Adsorbents in July 2015.

Firefighter Brady Louise strapped a GoPro camera to his fire helmet before climbing a ladder truck to force water inside the roof of the building.

There was concern that the fire would ignite thousands of wood pallets inside the building.

"The issue was hot embers falling down onto the pallets that's why we used the aerial truck to peel the roof back," Louise said.

At one point a propane tank exploded on the back of a forklift, releasing a large cloud of black smoke out of the building.

"Our crew happened to be in another portion of the warehouse not in danger of the explosion, but we backed out the crews to make sure there were no more explosions," Louise said.

Chief Ryan Ensco with the Eau Claire Volunteer Fire Department explained that warehouses and industrial plants are dangerous for firefighters.

"We had to be careful positioning aparatuses then of course you never know what's inside these warehouses, you never know what's inside. This one made chemical carbon based absorbents," Ensco said.

According to a statement from Oxbow Activated Carbon, the plant was not in operation at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported. The statement also says the cause of the fire is still unknown.

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