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After dual New Year's Eve fires, Schenectady's STS Steel works to recover; Investigation ongoing

After dual New Year's Eve fires, Schenectady's STS Steel works to recover; Investigation ongoing

No one was hurt by blazes
After dual New Year's Eve fires, Schenectady's STS Steel works to recover; Investigation ongoing
Schenectady firefighters at the scene Dec. 31
Photographer: Peter R. Barber/Gazette Photographer

SCHENECTADY -- STS Steel in Schenectady has made significant progress in recovery efforts in the week since dual fires damaged two buildings on the company's property off Erie Boulevard, STS president Glenn Tabolt said this week.

The progress has included two of three production bays being placed back in service and temporary office space set up, Tabolt said.

But even with the progress, Tabolt said there hasn't been enough to estimate a time frame to full recovery, or a price tag. 

“It’s day to day getting better,” he said.

The investigation into the New Year's Eve night fires continued Wednesday, fire officials said, and investigators continued to ask any witnesses in the area at the time of the fires and who may have information on the case to come forward. Officials offered no updates.

STS Steel, a structural steel and plate fabricator that employs close to 60, was hit by the fires at both its main building, a last vestige of the old Alco plant site that is now Mohawk Harbor, and its separate paint shop. STS offices in the main building took the brunt of the fire damage there, officials said.

Damage was widespread, even where the flames didn’t reach.

“Just smoke and water damage costs a lot,” Tabolt said.

The paint shop, however, isn’t as easily replaced; damage there was more significant than initially thought, he said.  There was a significant accumulation of soot.

The company is still determining how bad the damage is, Tabolt said.

STS was founded in 1984 by Tabolt and Jim Stori, two young engineers working together at General Steel Fabricators.

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

In 1989, they moved STS from a 7,000-square-foot space in Troy to a 62,000-square-foot former Alco fabrication shop that remains the heart of the operation. The overhead cranes at the new site can lift 125 tons, giving them the crucial capacity they need to undertake the large-scale projects the company has become known for.

These have included the front entrance of the Times Union Center, Erie Canal lock gates, a massive and striking oculus at the Fulton Center in Manhattan and numerous highway, pedestrian and railroad bridges across upstate New York.

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

Gazette reporter Steven Cook contributed to this article.

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