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Firefighters respond to small fire at Knowlton Technologies

pWATERTOWN — Spontaneous combustion is being blamed for a pallet of scrap paper catching fire in a third-floor storage room at Knowlton Technologies on Mill Street Saturday morning./ppChief Dale C. Herman said the building’s sprinkler system controlled the fire in the rag room, but city firefighters quickly extinguished it. About 10 employees were evacuated from the building./pp“The first unit saw smoke coming from the third floor initially and it got heavier when they went upstairs,” he said./ppSaying that the cause was “spontaneous combustion,” Chief Herman said no one had been in the rag room prior to the fire. /ppThe scraps of ribbons and sheets of recycled paper products had been on the pallet for about a week, he said. /ppOnce they were extinguished, firefighters tossed the scraps of paper out of a third-floor windows onto the sidewalk below./ppThe building wasn’t damaged and no one was hurt./ppEmployees stood in the J.B. Wise parking lot across the street while a haze of gray smoke collected outside the building./ppThe fire department responded at about 9:35 a.m. with a ladder truck and three fire engines. Traffic was blocked off at Factory and West Main Street for more than hour while firefighters put out the fire and Knowlton employees then cleaned up the debris from the sidewalk./ppThe pile of debris ended up on the sidewalk about 30 feet from where a car crashed into the building on May 10, causing a two-inch gas line to rupture and employees having to be evacuated./ppA handful of Knowlton supervisors were called to the scene on Saturday morning to find out what was happening./pp“We’re just figuring things out,” one of them said while instructing his employees to clean up the debris. “I have no comment.”/ppEmployees brought in two forklifts and loaded two bins by hand to remove the debris to a paved parking lot at the back fo the building in case began smoldering again. The company tries to recycle all their paper products to see other customers can use it, Chief Herman said./ppAbout 90 minutes after the blaze, firefighters were called back to the building when a smoke alarm went off but they left after determining there wasn’t a fire. /p


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