No injuries in underground Lafarge fire

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

Volunteer firefighters on the scene of an underground tunnel fire at the Lafarge cement plant Sunday night. Contributed photo

RAVENA — There were no injuries in an underground industrial fire at the LafargeHolcim cement plant late Sunday.

It was the second fire of the night for local volunteer firefighters.

Ravena and Coeymans fire departments responded to the April 3 blaze at the cement plant on Route 9W.

“It was determined that the industrial fire was located in a lengthy underground tunnel,” according to a statement from the Village of Ravena Fire Department. “Crews started the physically demanding task of reaching the fire and started extinguishing the fire.”

The fire started in equipment in an underground tunnel, according to Ravena plant officials from Lafarge.

“Local first responders were called to the plant last night to assist after a belt in an underground tunnel caught fire,” plant officials said Monday. “The cause of the incident and extent of the damage remain under review, and the plant continues to operate as normal.”

There were no injuries, fire officials said.

“We are thankful that no injuries occurred and there was no threat to the greater Ravena-Coeymans community,” according to plant officials. “We greatly appreciate the timely response and hard work of everyone involved in this incident and will provide additional details when they are available.”

The Village of Ravena and Coeymans fire departments initially responded and more than a dozen additional fire, rescue and other agencies assisted.

More than a dozen agencies responded to the underground fire at the cement plant Sunday night. Contributed photo

The call for the plant fire came 30 minutes after firefighters finished battling a residential structure fire in the village. The fire was reported in the early evening hours of April 3.

“Initial reports indicated that there was a fire in the kitchen and one resident hanging out of a second story window,” according to the Ravena Fire Department.

When firefighters arrived on the scene they found multiple residents of the building had safely evacuated the structure but one person remained on the second floor and was unable to evacuate.

Firefighters used a ground ladder that was outside the home to climb to the building’s second floor and rescue the resident, with no injuries.

“As this was occurring, Engine 26-20 was arriving and deploying a handline to the front of the structure,” according to fire officials. “Once entry of the first due engine company was made, crews found that the fire was confined to the kitchen area of the residence and ensured the complete extinguishment of the fire.”

One resident was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation by the Ravena Rescue Squad and did not need to be transported to the hospital, officials said.

There were no other injuries.

In addition to the Ravena fire department, additional agencies providing mutual aid included the Coeymans, New Baltimore and Coeymans Hollow fire companies, Ravena Rescue Squad and Albany County EMS.

More than a dozen agencies responded to the second fire at the plant, including the Coeymans, Ravena, Coeymans Hollow, New Baltimore, Selkirk, Elsmere, Delmar, Slingerlands, Medway-Grapeville, Westerlo, Coxsackie, McKownville fire departments; the Ravena Rescue Squad and Albany County EMS; Albany County Fire Coordinator’s Office; Albany County Communications Center; and Village of Ravena Building Department.

“We are extremely grateful for not only being the recipients of assistance at the first fire, but for the opportunity to also work alongside the brothers and sisters of so many amazing agencies,” according to the Ravena Fire Department. “After all was said and done, there was a lot of sweat and sore muscles, followed by even more hose to clean up, but we are happy to state that there were no major injuries.

“Great job to all the crews involved.”

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