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Fires at STS Steel remain under investigation in Schenectady as company assesses damage

Fires at STS Steel remain under investigation in Schenectady as company assesses damage

STS Steel employs nearly 60
Fires at STS Steel remain under investigation in Schenectady as company assesses damage
Firefighters at the scene late Tuesday
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

SCHENECTADY -- Fires at STS Steel in Schenectady remained under investigation Thursday as the company's president worked to assess the damage.

The STS paint shop building and its main building both suffered fire damage late Tuesday when dual fires broke out. STS offices in the main building took the brunt of the fire damage, officials said.

Assistant Schenectady Fire Chief Don Mareno declined to categorize the potential causes Tuesday, but the Schenectady Arson Task Force has been working the case and asked for the public's assistance in the investigation. 

STS Steel employs close to 60 people making trusses, bridges, and lock gates for the state's canals. It has been in its current location off Erie Boulevard for more than 30 years. Its main building, next to the Rivers Casino, is also a last vestige of the old American Locomotive plant.

STS president and co-founder Glenn Tabolt declined Thursday to discuss the investigation, but said he is working to assess the damage.

Images: Fires damage STS Steel property in Schenectady, Jan. 1, 2020

But, he said, employees could be back at work in the main building work space by Monday.

"We'll have to see what the full extent of our insurance coverage is and what I can do personally to help them out," Tabolt said of the impact on his employees. "We're hoping to get them back to work by Monday."

This is a busy time of year for STS, Tabolt said.

Firefighters responded to the STS property Tuesday night at about 10 p.m. after a caller reported smoke, Mareno said.

Firefighters arrived and then found the fire at the STS paint shop, the large, white garage some distance from the STS main building, Mareno said.

"As they were taking care of the first building that they went to, then it was noted that there was a problem in the second building," Mareno said.

The city called in all available firefighters and got help from Niskayuna and Scotia, Mareno said.

A Google satellite view of the STS Steel main building, bottom left and paint shop building, middle. Rivers Casino is in the upper left.

They got the fire under control in the paint shop in about 30 minutes. The second fire, in the larger main building, took longer due to the size of the building, Mareno said.

The Schenectady Arson Task Force has asked that anyone with information to call them at 518-382-5141 Ext. 5815.

Both buildings suffered fire, smoke and water damage. STS had experts in Thursday to assess and begin the restoration process. 

Tabolt praised the Fire Department's response.

"I can say that the Schenectady Fire Department did a fantastic job," Tabolt said. "I've got a lot of confidence in them. They're very professional and I really have a lot of respect for what they have to face on a daily basis and appreciate them being there."

Tabolt said STS has gotten a lot of well-wishes from the community since the fire, including from the Chamber of Commerce. 

"That's always nice when you know you have friends," he said.

Images: Fires damage STS Steel property in Schenectady, Jan. 1, 2020

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