A large fire tore through a Southington steel manufacturing company early Tuesday morning, sending at least one employee to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
The fire broke out around 8 a.m. at Rex Forge on Atwater Street in the Plantsville section of Southington, and by the time fire crews arrived at the scene, the building was already heavily involved in the fire.
The flames and smoke could be seen for miles, and several roads surrounding the company were closed so fire crews could work.
There were at least 50 employees inside the building when the fire broke out inside a tool room where dyes are made, and that's where the employee suffered from smoke inhalation, according to the Southington Police Department.
There was also a concern for the 1000 gallons of waste oil that spilled from a storage tank in the plant into the nearby Quinnipiac River.
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel Esty surveyed the situation and called it a "significant" spill, a half-mile down river from the plant.
"So I think that we do expect that there probably will be some environmental damage," he said. "Some fish kill. You can see oil floating on the water. There are some tar balls, too."
The issue is that there are still hotspots from the fire inside the building, and since it collapsed there is no way for crews to get into the facility to clean the spill.
Therefore, DEEP officials said, the oil keeps making its way into the river.
According to the company's website, Rex Forge has close to 200 employees. They manufacture hot forgings and handle millions of pounds of steel a year.
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