MIDDLETOWN — UPDATE @ 2:30 p.m. (Feb. 3)
Nearly 12 hours after fire broke out at a vacant warehouse on South Verity Parkway, firefighters continued to pour water on smoldering spots earlier this morning.
Neighbors called 911 about 11:30 p.m. Friday reporting heavy smoke and flames coming from the former Middletown Paperboard facility at 300 South Verity Parkway, according to Middletown Fire Chief Paul Lolli.
“Heavy smoke and fire was found on the South End of the complex,” Lolli said. “They immediately called for extra alarms.”
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The labor intensive fire called for additional ladder towers from Franklin and Monroe to shoot water from above the building.
In addition to the flames, firefighters also struggled with frigid temperatures that froze water quickly on the ground and puddled on Verity Parkway making the road hazardous.
By Saturday, Lolli said firefighters needed the assistance of heavy equipment to the scene in order to haul out debris and large items from inside the building.
“They are going to bring in heavy equipment to pull away large parts of the building away from the center so we can get water into the seat of the fire and get it totally extinguished,” Lolli said.
Crews have not been able to safely get inside all of the building yet due to parts of the roof and structure collapsing.
UPDATE @ 8:08 a.m. (Feb. 3)
Middletown fire Chief Paul Lolli said the department is requesting some heavy equipment to the scene in order to haul out debris and large items from inside the building.
Crews have not been able to safely get inside the building yet due to parts of the roof and structure collapsing.
Lolli said they believe they know where the fire started but they need to clear out some material before they will know for sure.
UPDATE @ 5:37 a.m. (Feb. 3)
Capt. Jon Harvey, of Middletown Division of Fire, said most of the fire has been knocked down but crews are trying to get to hot spots.
He said the fire is considered suspicious at this point because it's a vacant building, and has been empty for decades. There is no power to the building.
Mutual aid was received from Franklin, Monroe and Madison Twp.
No injuries are reported, Harvey said. Verity Parkway is closed and smaller roads behind the building are also closed.
UPDATE @ 3:47 a.m. (Feb. 3)
Middletown and Franklin fire crews remain on scene of a warehouse fire on Verity Parkway.
By 3:40 a.m. Saturday, crews were going defensive on the fire, which still had flames shooting out of the roof.
Firefighters are dealing with the issue of cold temperatures Saturday morning.
"This thing is through the roof,” according to a fire official on emergency scanner traffic.
"That's clear; be safe,” a dispatcher responded.
"It's no longer a factor of being safe; it's a factor of being warm. It's freezing,” the fire official replied.
Fire crews here remain on scene of a warehouse fire that started around 11:30 p.m. Friday.
A warehouse facility in the 300 block of Verity Parkway, near Park Street, is on fire. Flames are reported showing.
A sign outside the warehouse is for the business Newark Converting.
We have a photographer on the scene and will update this report.