By Kaylee Lindenmuth
GILBERTON - Smoke could be seen miles away as fire crews from across northern Schuylkill County battled flames at a coal plant in the borough of Gilberton Friday afternoon.
Fire crews were dispatched just before 5:30pm to the Gilberton Coal Company plant at 10 Gilberton Road for a working structure fire.
A tanker task force was dispatched shortly after as smoke could be seen in Shenandoah borough and Shenandoah Heights.
Flames were visible from a conveyor assembly and atop the roof of the silo. A collapse zone was set up as the structural integrity of the conveyor assembly became compromised, while crews undertook a defensive attack.
It took well over an hour for firefighters to bring the fire under control, with crews remaining on scene into the evening hours, with crews beginning to clear around 7:30pm.
The fire was reportedly sparked by a dryer atop the 180 foot silo.
Assisting firefighters from Gilberton's Continental Fire Co. and Mahanoy Plane's American Hose Co. were crews from Mahanoy City, Girardville, Shenandoah, Frackville, Gordon, Lavelle, Hometown, Sheppton-Oneida, Nuremberg-Weston, Englewood, and Ringtown Valley, among others. Also assisting at the scene were troopers from the Pennsylvania State Police and crews from Shenandoah Ambulance.