Updated 09/20/2012 03:18 PM
Massive fire rips through Shelter Enterprises in Cohoes
A massive fire broke out early Thursday morning at Shelter Enterprises in Cohoes. Firefighters said it was one of the largest they've seen in years, but with support from the community, the president of the company said he hopes to be back in business soon. Megan Cruz reports.
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COHOES, N.Y. -- "I'm a little overwhelmed right now," said Shelter Enterprises Inc. President Jeff Myers. "It's probably the best word I can use."
Several crews were called to the scene of a massive fire in Cohoes a little after midnight Thursday morning. It happened in the production area of Shelter Enterprises, Inc. on Saratoga Street. Because the company makes Styrofoam products there, environmental issues were a concern early on.
Cohoes Fire Captain William Charbonneau said, "We've had EnCon. We're going to have Department of Health people. We're going to look at air quality. We're going to look at runoff into the water. There's always concern. We don't see any major issues at this time, but they will do some samples and they'll let us know at that time."
As of noon Thursday, the air and water tests came back negative for contaminants, and the fire continued to burn - but at least it was contained.
Cohoes Mayor John McDonald said, "We were able to save a good two thirds of his overall structure, so with that he's going to relocate his offices, relocate some of his manufacturing components up in that area."
Shelter Enterprises has been in Cohoes since 1980. It currently employs about 40 people. Owner Jeff Myers said he's rebuilding for them.
"I've had many employees for many, many years," he said. "It's a family business, and we treat the employees as family, and they're considered family."
Mayor McDonald it's a priority for the city to help them get through this, starting first by calling the Department of Labor.
The mayor said, "We want to make sure that we can get these people in the cues so they can start getting paychecks because they're going to need it."
Orders will obviously be delayed, but Myers hopes to be back in business in a couple of weeks - a tight deadline, but he says he's determined.
"We'll work through it," Myers said. "We'll get through this. I've got great support from the community, the mayor, the city, as well as all the employees. We'll get through it."
No one was injured, and the cause is under investigation.
Route 32 and I-787 from Ontario Street through New Cortland Street will be closed until 5 a.m. Friday.