Fire Breaks Out At Donnelley
Dozens Battle Blaze, But No One Injured
Posted: February 21, 2013
A Clover Hill Volunteer Fire Company engine makes the circuit around the RR Donnelley building on Wednesday as a persistent fire smolders at the plant. (Photos by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
Smoke wafts around RR Donnelley employees as they stand in front of the plant during Wednesday’s fire.
No injuries were 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., he said.
“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.
A hazardous materials unit was at the scene, but Holloway said no hazardous materials were involved.
The Salvation Army also responded to supply emergency personnel with food and drink.
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