Solar panels complicate effort to douse plant blaze

Firefighters work to open a water line as they battle a blaze at the division of ResinTech. There were no injuries reported.
Firefighters work to open a water line as they battle a blaze at the division of ResinTech. There were no injuries reported. (MEL EVANS / AP)
Posted: May 10, 2014

WEST BERLIN Firefighters battled a three-alarm blaze in a chemical plant Thursday, with solar panels complicating their efforts.

The fire started before 1:30 p.m. at 160 Cooper Rd., behind the Sahara Sam's indoor water park on Route 73. The address houses ResinTech, which manufactures "a broad range of ion exchange resins for water and wastewater treatment," according to the firm's website.

A statement released on the website said that the manufacturing facility of Aries FilterWorks, a division of ResinTech, was damaged, but that ResinTech's corporate offices were not. It added that "there were no injuries to employees at the facility and no danger to the surrounding public."

Dan Keashan, a Camden County spokesman, said it was doubtful the company would be able to resume operations in the damaged building. Company officials could not be reached. It could not be immediately determined how many people worked there.

ResinTech, on its website, said it has another facility in California and should remain operational.

The fire was brought under control around 5 p.m. Earlier, firefighters tried to hose down the building from the outside, but solar panels on the roof hindered their efforts.

Solar panels can electrocute firefighters. Their presence also hampered efforts to stop a fire in September 2013 that burned the Dietz & Watson warehouse in Delanco to the ground.

In the ResinTech fire, a hazmat unit from the county Office of Emergency Management tested for harmful chemicals in the air and for water runoff, but everything came out negative, Keashan said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection was notified of the fire but let Camden County handle it.


856-779-3829 @borenmc mboren@phillynews.com

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