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Galax firefighters responded to an incident at the Webb Furniture plant on Jackson Street about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday when a press there caught on fire.
The Galax Volunteer Fire Department sought mutual aid from Hillsville and Independence fire departments after the reports of a machine burning came in at the chip board plant, said Galax Fire Chief David Hankley.
Complicating the incident, the fire reportedly damaged hoses to a 300-gallon tank with hydraulic fluid located about 12 or 15 feet above the burning machine, the chief said. This caused the tank to empty, covering the area with fluid.
“The fluid made everything extremely slick and slippery,” Hankley explained.
The pressure of the hoses and the slickness of the floor meant that the force caused difficulties for the volunteers.
Hankley reported one minor injury to a firefighter who fell, cracked his elbow and was expected to need a couple of stitches.
No other injuries were reported. “Employees were there, but they got out,” said Hankley.
Taking preventative measures, the Galax Police Department and Galax-Grayson EMS trucks arrived on scene. “[The fire department] was a little worried about a spill of oil or hydraulic fluid, so we went down to check on that,” said Galax Police Capt. James Cox.
A few sets of turnout gear were damaged, possibly five or six, the fire chief said. He expected that insurance coverage would replace those.
Firefighters were on scene for about 90 minutes.
Though the fire got into some insulation, Hankley didn’t think the plant’s structure was damaged.
He didn’t know how the fire started or the cost to repair the damage.