East Greenville firefighters were dispatched to the Blommer Chocolate Company Sunday morning to battle a stubborn blaze inside a quad bin used in processing chocolate.
The 5 a.m. call initially was reported as a “fire alarm” and when East Greenville Fire Chief Jason Wilson arrived on the scene there was no external evidence of a fire. However, shortly after his arrival the chief confirmed that there was a fire and upgraded the incident to a “full box alarm” for a building fire. Wilson reported that “the situation quickly deteriorated.”
The upgrade sent volunteers from four area fire companies to the plant at 1101 Blommer Drive in Upper Hanover Township. By then, smoke could be seen spewing from the rooftop above the fire area and banking down into the parking lot of the neighboring Shoppes at Upper Hanover shopping center.
Wilson had a second alarm assignment dispatched to the scene at 5:50, bringing additional volunteer firefighters to battle the fire. More than 70 firefighters responded.
After spending time fighting the fire and checking for any extension, the cool morning air of the first full day of autumn provided a respite for the firefighters exiting the super-heated air inside the building. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the area of the quad bin.
Wilson declared the fire under control at 6:23 a.m. Fire units remained on the scene until 7:30 a.m.
According to Upper Hanover Fire Marshal Jeff Ashman, the fire started in processing equipment and was accidental in nature. Blommer Chocolate Company’s location in Upper Hanover Township was the scene of two other fires earlier this year, in January and July.
No injuries were reported and no damage estimate was available, though Wilson said “the damage was significant.” Plant operations were able to continue in other areas of the plant after the fire companies cleared the area.
Montgomery County fire companies responding to the scene included Green Lane, Pennsburg, Red Hill and Souderton Perseverance. From Bucks County: Milford Township and Quakertown West End. From Berks County: Eastern Berks and Hereford.
Units from Gilbertsville and Milford Township fire companies were on standby in Pennsburg.
Emergency medical services units responded from Upper Perkiomen Valley Ambulance and Bally Community Ambulance.