LEWISBURG — Playworld Inc. personnel deferred immediate comment on a smoky midday Tuesday fire at their plant in Buffalo Township, Union County.

Jonathan Ritter, Playworld plant manager, said comment would be more appropriate after information is gathered. He said further information may be issued by parent company PlayPower based in Huntersville, N.C.

Black smoke continued to pour from the building to the rear of the company’s Buffalo Road offices for several hours. Its odor was reminiscent of a plastic, oil or vinyl-like material. Employees evacuated the plant and in many cases gathered on grassy areas to watch the ongoing fire operation.

Initial reports were that there was a fire originating in an oven. Later reports mentioned an injury but the person apparently declined transport. The Union County Fire Wire reported a third alarm at about 1:24 p.m. and an explosion inside the building.

The firefight continued for several hours with companies responding from three area counties. They included the William Cameron Engine Company, Milton, Mifflinburg Hose Company, New Berlin, Winfield, White Deer and Shamokin Dam (Snyder Co. 90).

The Buffalo Valley Regional Police Department and Union County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the scene. Fire police were kept busy diverting auto traffic from the area near Route 192 and a frequently used short cut to Route 15.

Extra fire police were called to Route 45 and Fairground Road, nearly a mile from the fire scene, at about the time of school dismissal.

Staff writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at matt@standard-journal.com.

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