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Abandoned plant in Pueblo still smoldering

Published On: Jan 30 2013 11:43:50 AM CST   Updated On: Jan 02 2013 01:15:43 PM CST
Alpha beta Fire

The Pueblo Chieftain

Pueblo Chieftain photo shows fire crews battling flames at Alpha Beta plant on Sunday night (12/30).

PUEBLO, Colo. -

A fire at the abandoned Alpha Beta meat packing plant in Pueblo is still smoldering on Wednesday.

The fire started on Sunday at the plant located at 303 South Santa Fe Avenue in Pueblo.

Firefighters have been working since then to extinguish the flames.

The fuel for this fire is not the actual structure, the Pueblo Fire Department said on Wednesday.  The structure is comprised mostly of masonry, concrete and steel, and is effectively non-combustible.

The difficulty in extinguishing the fire is that the building is largely insulated with very thick, natural cork. The fire is traveling behind the corkboards from room to room, and is completely concealed in many areas, the fire department said.

The nature of this fire creates extreme hazards to firefighting personnel, including collapses of the cork from the walls and ceilings, the dangerous state of the internal conditions of the structure that was undergoing renovations, and now the addition of tons of water that has turned to ice.

The building is believed to be structurally stable at this point, but the overall environment is not conducive for safe interior firefighting operations.

The public will notice smoke emitting from the building, likely for several days. The Pueblo Fire Department is continuing to monitor the situation, and is asking that all persons stay clear of the facility.

One firefighter sustained minor injuries from a fall on the first day of operations, and was released from the hospital the same day.

The building is largely vacant, and the majority of the damage from fire is to the cork insulation. Very little equipment or other materials are involved.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. If anyone has any information about the fire, they are asked to call Pueblo Crime Stoppers at 542-STOP (7867).


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