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Early morning fire breaks out at Brownville, N.Y. Neenah paper mill

BROWNVILLE, New York (From news reports) -- Crews were called to a fire at Neenah Paper in the town of Brownville early Friday morning, 21 Jan 2022.

The call came in a little after 5 a.m. Someone reported seeing flames above an exhaust fan on the roof. Fire was showing above the roof by the time firefighters arrived.

Neenah officials say all employees were evacuated safely.

Officials said the bitter-cold temperatures slowed their efforts when water lines froze on their trucks. Nearby hydrants worked fine, though.

A majority of the fire was knocked down by around 7 a.m. and crews began chasing hot spots.

"We had it pretty well contained within 30 to 45 minutes and after that it was a lot of overhaul," Town of Brownville Fire Chief Ryan McIntosh said. "Later in the morning, we found that it started to get into the membrane of the roof a little bit, so we did have to spend some time cutting chunks of the roof out, good amount of chunks as far as we could do that was safe for us to operate up there still."

Bridge Street, where the paper company is located, was closed to traffic while crews were at work.

There's no word on the status of operations, but fire officials say there's substantial water damage inside the building.

Fire investigators were on the seen looking for a cause. Officials say the fire appeared to have started above several dryer units.

Firefighters from Town of Brownville, Glen Park, Sackets Harbor, and the town and city of Watertown were at the scene.

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