Fire Damages 145-Year-Old Connecticut Forge

Click here for a photo gallery of the fire.

 

SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (AP) _ Part of a factory building collapsed Tuesday morning after a fire that sent thick black smoke billowing over central Connecticut.

Southington fire officials said the blaze at Rex Forge began inside a tool room where dyes are made, near where the company keeps vats of waste oil from the forging process.

The thick smoke forced officials to temporarily close some nearby ramps onto Interstate 84. The fire was reported at about 8 a.m. and was under control before 11:30 a.m., fire official said.

According to its website, Rex Forge makes steel and alloy parts for the automotive, trucking and other industries. It employs about 200 people at its 200,000-square foot facility.

There were about 50 people working when the fire began, the company said.

One worker suffering from smoke inhalation was taken to a hospital, but his injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was called to help a private contractor clean up oil that had washed into the nearby Quinnipiac River.

The company, a division of J.J. Ryan Corp., has been in operation since 1867, when it was known as Atwater Manufacturing Co., according to its website.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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