Industry News

Firefighters, fire police, and emergency personnel from throughout the county responded to an early Monday morning three-alarm fire at Henry Molded Products, 71 N. 16th Street in West Lebanon Township, just across the Lebanon city line.

The first alarm was called in to the Lebanon County dispatchers at 11:44 p.m. on Sunday night.

Video and still images posted to online sites showed flames breaking through the roof into the night sky, but no visible fire damage could be seen on the complex’s exterior later Monday morning.

According to Henry Molded President Douglass Henry, the fire “was confined to a section of roof above a production line,” and no one was injured.

Henry Molded takes recycled paper fiber and molds it into environmentally friendly containers and packaging. The process involves a wet paper-pulp slurry — what Henry calls “an industrial and commercial version of papier mache” — which is formed into shapes and dried in large curing ovens at high temperatures. This creates hot, wet air which is vented upward through the roof by giant exhaust fans.

Henry said that despite the exhaust system and the efforts of employees who are trained to quickly respond to sparks and embers, occasional hot, dry particles escape and ignite dust or dirt on nearby surfaces.

Henry said the damage can be repaired and that he expects to “resume operations in a large part of the plant within a day or two.” He added that crews had already checked the roof for structural damage and that Met-Ed had been on the scene and approved the reconnection of electric service to the plant.

Henry had special praise for the firefighters, fire police, EMS personnel, and other first responders who were quick to arrive when the alarm went out. “I’m just happy that we’re surrounded by so many capable and well-trained first responders and emergency services.”