CHICAGO HEIGHTS | No one was injured when a fire erupted in a glass factory Tuesday morning at 1131 Arnold St., fire officials said.
Chicago Heights Fire Chief James Angell said firefighters were called around 9 a.m. to the Gerresheimer Glass Co. after a furnace broke and molten glass started spewing out like lava. They immediately poured water on the furnace upon arrival. But on the third floor of the furnace, a steam explosion erupted, blowing the molten glass onto the structure and causing a fire, he said.
Firefighters fought the blaze for about 45 minutes before they were able to put it out. Firefighters remained on scene helping plant personnel restart the furnace so the molten glass would not solidify, he said. The plant, which has been at that location since the 1900s, produces primary glass packaging for pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, according to the company website. Its headquarters is in Germany.
Angell said they called for reinforcements from area departments due to the weather and the size of the factory. He said Matteson, Park Forest, Glenwood, Homewood, Flossmoor, Sauk Village, Frankfort, Steger and Hazel Crest firefighters were on the scene. Crete, Richton Park, Crete Township, University Park and Richton Park Township fire departments handled calls for Chicago Heights.
Angell did not know the exact size of the factory or have a damage estimate. He said it is undetermined how the furnace broke. But, the fact that no one was injured is good news.
"Anytime everyone can go home with no injuries it's a great day," he said.