Coal furnace fire fought by six local companies

Larry McGuire
Staff Writer

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Six area fire companies fought a very hot carbon furnace fire at NAC Carbon in Punxsutawney on Tuesday evening. All three Punxsutawney fire companies — Central, Lindsey and Elk Run — with assistance from McCalmont Township, Big Run and Sykesville — battled the blaze, which occurred at 7:10 p.m. at the NAC Carbon plant, located at 314 Elk Run Ave., Punxsutawney.

When firefighters arrived on scene, they found the one carbon furnace had fire coming from it, with heavy black smoke and flames coming out of the chimney and leaving a black plume of smoke in the area above the plant.

There was a large number of firefighters from the six different departments that spelled each other, due to extremely dangerous high heat, which measured at 800 degrees with thermal imaging camera at times, and the lower portions of the furnace may have reached temperatures as high as 2,500 degrees. It was compared to being similar to a chimney fire from a wood burner if the chimney could attain 1,000 degrees.

The fire was brought under control by 8:30 p.m., and there were no injuries.