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After storm, plant closed, power outages continue

Nobody injured when Beech-Nut roof collapses

March 8, 2011
By JOHN R. BECKER, The Leader-Herald

FLORIDA - The Hero/Beech-Nut plant remained closed today, a day after part of its roof caved in following a storm that dropped wet, heavy snow and caused disruptions across the region.

Employees were safely evacuated from the plant at the Florida Industrial Park after the collapse, which happened around 9:30 a.m. Monday.

"Our first priority is and always will be the safety of the workers, and there were no workers trapped or injured," Beech-Nut President and CEO Jim Schneider said in a written statement. "Operations are being suspended until we can assess the structure of the roof where the collapse occurred."

Article Photos

Fire vehicles respond to Monday’s partial collapse at the Hero/Beech-Nut plant in the town of Florida.

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

Officials have not released a cause of the collapse.

Beech-Nut is moving its baby-food production facilities from its century-old home in Canajoharie to the Florida facility. The last day of production in Canajoharie is anticipated to be March 18, and all shipments will be completed by March 31.

Fire crews were busy Monday with fallen limbs and wires, including eight weather-related calls in Gloversville between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Gloversville firefighters also responded to a partial building collapse on South Main Street in Gloversville, where snow had previously collapsed part of the roof. The three-story building had only two stories standing Monday. The area remains blocked off today.

Snow and unplowed roads hampered Oppenheim firefighters' efforts to put out a fire at an unoccupied camp on Route 29, but nobody was hurt and the blaze was extinguished.

About 500 homes centered around Oppenheim and Stratford are without power for a second day, as are about 100 National Grid customers on the Ephratah-Palatine town line and 40 in Sprakers. There also are scattered outages, according to the National Grid website.

Power is expected to be restored in most areas late tonight, spokesman Patrick Stella said.

National Grid had about 250 crews, including 180 from outside the area, working to restore power, he said.

Monday's storm also brought scattered telephone outages, including an outage that began Monday morning at St. Mary's Hospital and the Carondelet Health Center in Amsterdam. Hospital officials said service had been restored.

Frontier Communications officials could not be reached today.

Downed power lines blocked Route 67 in the town of Johnstown, west of the city, Monday, but the road reopened in late morning.

An ice jam in the Sacandaga River in Hope caused flooding that forced the closure of Route 30 between Wells and Northville, but the road reopened after the water receded.

John R. Becker can be reached at



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