4-alarm fire destroys manufacturing facility

Foam materials fuel blaze in Brooklyn-area building

April 12, 2005|By William Wan | William Wan,SUN STAFF

A raging fire fueled by foam materials destroyed a manufacturing building in the Brooklyn area late last night, sending workers running for safety.

The blaze at the Life-Like Products facility on Chesapeake Avenue was reported about 10:30 p.m., and quickly went to four alarms as flames and thick black smoke rose from the large corrugated metal building.

Nancy Leone, 54, said she was in the "screening room" packaging foam crates made in the building when Styrofoam insulation plugging a drafty spot nearby "started popping."

"Next think I know, [a co-worker] came in and yelled, `Everyone out,'" she said.

Leone said fire sprinklers in the building came on as she and about 25 others on the 3:30-to-11:45 night shift fled. "I just kept running."

The Fire Department set up a staging area on the parking lot in front of the John R. Hargrove Sr. District Court Building off Patapsco Avenue. The inferno was a short distance from the back of the courthouse, but it was not damaged.

"I wonder if at least the screening room's still left," a co-worker said as she stood with Leone, watching the building burn.

Several trailers behind it and packages of foam materials were consumed.

Joyce Murray, 33, whose house on 7th Street is across from the burning building, sat with her family on white lawn chairs taking in the spectacle. She said there had been several small fires at the plant during the 30 years the family has lived there, "but there has never been one like this before."

No injuries were reported, and an initial account that one worker was missing could not be confirmed. "The fire is so intense we couldn't get in there to check," said Chief Kevin Cartwright, a Fire Department spokesman.

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