UPDATE 10:P.M.: RR Donnelley Fire Contained To Baler

Firefighters To Remain On Scene To Quell Hot Spots

Posted: February 20, 2013

HARRISONBURG —  About 25 units and 70 firefighters from throughout Rockingham County and Harrisonburg reported to a three-alarm fire at the RR Donnelley plant, 2347 Kratzer Drive, shortly after 5 p.m. today.

No injuries have been reported at the facility, located just north of the city limits.

Fire personnel were still at the plant — which prints books, magazines and other materials — as of 10 p.m., Rockingham County Fire Chief Jeremy Holloway said, adding that the fire’s cause was unknown at that time.

The blaze sparked in the bale room, Holloway said, and it was contained there as of 10 p.m. He added that firefighters would stay for a few hours more to knock out hot spots. Damage to the building was minimal, Holloway said, and it was kept to the bale room.

Previous fires reported at the plant have also started with the baler, a machine that bales scraps of paper, a byproduct of the printing process.

Sources familiar with the baling operation say large amounts of combustible paper dust can usually be found in the room, which is why it can be prone to fires. 

“This is a more significant fire than we’ve ever had here,” Holloway said.

Employees were evacuated around 5 p.m. 

“We enacted all plant emergency procedures, accounted for all employees and they are safe,” Gary Calleo, Donnelley’s vice president of manufacturing, said shortly before 8 p.m. Calleo declined to provide more information.

All fire stations in Rockingham County sent at least one unit and a New Market engine was standing by.

NDN Video News