Firefighters worked through the night at the Creps United Publications building in White Township, which was destroyed in a fire yesterday. Damage has been estimated in the tens of millions of dollars, with one estimate at about $50 million.
The blaze at the 75,000-square foot plant appears to have started near a printing press, where employees heard an explosion at around 8:30 AM. The workers tried to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher while 911 was called, but the fire spread too rapidly, and the approximately fifty people inside the plant had to evacuate.
Firefighters from all of Indiana County’s available fire departments were summoned, along with fire departments from Armstrong, Cambria and Westmoreland counties, but the flames, fed by oil and solvents used in the printing process, stubbornly held out. As the night wore on, a bulldozer was brought in to help with the cleanup.
Company managing partner Jake Creps said yesterday they hope to rebuild, and they will have to see if any of the six state-of-the-art printing presses are salvageable. No employees were injured in the fire, but several firefighters were treated at IRMC, inclduing one for an injury suffered when he was hit by a hose, and another for a medical condition.
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The source of the fire has not officially been determined, but reports indicate that it may have started at the back of the plant near one of the large printing presses.
Renda Broadcasting video footage from the scene. See full size video here
Creps United, which prints advertising circulars for companies all over the East Coast, was reportedly in the process of printing a sale circular for Dick’s Sporting Goods. The company operates two shifts daily, with approximately 50 to 75 people working each shift.
Renda Broadcasting photo. Click for more photos.