Fire Guts PA Sheet Metal Factory

Friday, March 6, 2015 @ 06:03 PM gHale

A five-alarm fire at a sheet metal fabricating facility in Upper Moreland, PA, raged for more than two hours Monday before firefighters got it under control.

The fire at the Trico Metal Products building in the Willow Grove section of Upper Moreland started at 5:20 p.m. and was under control at 7:20 p.m.

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The business, which stood for more than 50 years providing sheet metal to manufacturers, ended up gutted after the fire consumed the roof and all of the first floor. A front wall and back wall of the facility collapsed as numerous explosions from overheated compressed gas cylinders inside the plant put responding firefighters at risk.

Twenty-four agencies responded to the fire, said Willow Grove Fire Company Chief Brian Focht. The fire created “heavy smoke and fire and zero visibility” when firefighters arrived. Due to the building being in a limited access area, the fire company had to go outside of Wyandotte for water, he said.

No one suffered an injury in the fire. The cause of the blaze is under investigation, fire officials said.

The building was “pretty well-gutted,” Willow Grove firefighter John Corcoran said, but firefighters were able to protect the building near it, so the damage remained contained to the sheet metal plant. No one was in the building, he said.

Some compressed gas cylinders inside did explode during the fire, he said, but he could not confirm reports that debris had fallen onto the Turnpike from the explosions.

The local power company, PECO, reported 900 residents in the area were without energy because of the fire, Corcoran said.

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