An explosion and fire in a half-million dollar machine caused some tense moments in the metal shop of Knoll Inc. at 1235 Water St. in Upper Hanover Township.
Firefighters from East Greenville Fire Company were dispatched to the corporate headquarters of the local furniture manufacturer at 8:34 Tuesday morning when an explosion and fire caused the massive plant to be evacuated. Hundreds of employees stood in the chilly January morning with many of them making their way to the adjacent Knoll’s Lubin plant to get warm.
No injuries were reported as most of the employees assigned to the affected area were on break at the time.
According to East Greenville Fire Company Captain Mike Wetzel the Knoll Emergency Response Team, made up of specially trained employees, responded immediately to the emergency. The fire was out when the firefighters arrived and Wetzel credited the emergency response team for their quick action. “The emergency response team is well trained and did a great job containing the fire and limiting damage” remarked Wetzel.
The volunteer firefighters were able to rid the building of smoke using existing building ventilation augmented by their exhaust fans.
The incident was declared under control at 9:21 a.m. Employees returned to work after the fire equipment departed.
The cause of the fire is being investigated by Upper Hanover Fire Marshal Jeff Ashman. According to Ashman, his preliminary findings are that the fire was “Caused by electric or static electricity in the machine.” Damage was confined to the expensive machine and the extent of the damage was not immediately known.
Assisting were Montgomery County fire units from Pennsburg, Red Hill and Green Lane as well as emergency services units from Upper Perkiomen Valley Ambulance Association. Herford Fire Company, Berks County, also assisted at the scene.