Strasburg, VA – Sprinkler system keeps fire contained to machinery at paper mill

Mercury Paper evacuated its Strasburg plant when a fire started in a building Friday morning.

The Shenandoah County Emergency Communications Center received a call at 3:41 a.m. from someone at the scene who reported a fire in one of the buildings, Shannon Walters, service assistant for the Shenandoah County Department of Fire and Rescue, said Friday.

Employees evacuated the facility, Deputy Chief Billy Streett said. Responders checked out one employee on the site for smoke inhalation who refused transport to the hospital, Streett said.

The fire started in a piece of equipment in a processing area of the plant, Streett added. Employees and then the plant’s sprinkler system extinguished the fire by the time fire and rescue crews arrived, he said, explaining that employees worked on putting out the blaze but flames grew to the point that the fire triggered the sprinklers. The sprinkler system kept the fire contained to the machinery.

Crews cleared the scene at 5:28 a.m., Walters said. Fire stations in Strasburg, Toms Brook and Middletown responded to the call along with rescue squads in Strasburg and Woodstock.

Fire and rescue workers have responded to other emergencies at Mercury Paper, Streett said.