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Still no cause of Broadalbin fire found

Still no cause of Broadalbin fire found

Fulton County Fire Coordinator Allan Polmateer said Friday that investigators may never know the cau
Still no cause of Broadalbin fire found
New York State Fire Investigator John Fairclough, center, stands upon ice-covered remains while photographing the scene at Fiber Conversion in Broadalbin on Friday. The factory suffered damage after a large fire on Thursday.
Photographer: Ana Zangroniz

Fulton County Fire Coordinator Allan Polmateer said Friday that investigators may never know the cause of Thursday’s massive fire at Fiber Conversion Inc.

Polmateer and state fire investigators spent Friday interviewing the company’s owners and an employee who was near the area where the fire started.

There were no apparent electrical problems, he said, and there are no obvious signs of what sparked the blaze.

“We did interviews with the owners … and talked to a guy who was in the area where the fire started. But we still don’t have any idea how the fire started,” Polmateer said. “We may never know.”

Another employee who was in the area where the fire started is scheduled to meet with investigators on Monday, Polmateer said.

Volunteer firefighters had to return to the textile processing plant a couple of times Friday to douse hot spots in the wreckage.

Polmateer said the building, which housed the company’s two main production lines and a warehouse-shipping dock, was equipped with a sprinkler system but there was a problem when firefighters started tapping hydrants.

“It did have sprinklers. Actually, the sprinklers were working, they were spraying, but when the trucks hit the hydrants it just sucked it away from the sprinkler system,” he said.

Getting water to the fire scene was a main concern Thursday, and on Friday village officials issued a boil-water advisory as a precaution, based on a recommendation from the state Health Department.

Officials said the firefighting efforts caused a drop in pressure and may have disturbed some rust in the system.

Because of the amount of water used, some customers lost service altogether while others experienced very low pressure, Broadalbin village Clerk-Treasurer Sheila Bleyl said.

A spokeswoman for Fiber Conversion said company officials were meeting with fire investigators and others but had nothing new to report on the company’s status Friday.

“We can’t tell you anything if we don’t know ourselves,” she said.

Fiber Conversion has had a presence in Broadalbin for about 100 years and employs about 30 people, co-owner Doug Kissinger said Thursday.

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