Crews battle dangerous chemicals fighting fire at plant in Homer City



HOMER CITY, Pa. - Emergency crews in Blacklick Township responded to a fire at a plant that produces nonlethal weapons, including tear gas grenades, on Tuesday.

According to Indiana County 911 dispatchers, a series of explosions were reported at Nonlethal Technologies on Route 286 in Homer City about 10:30 a.m. Officials said some of the chemicals used in the manufacturing process went up in flames.

Route 286 was closed in both directions from Hunter School Road to Route 217 while crews battled the fire, officials said. The road has since been reopened.

Emergency management officials said one person was taken to an area hospital after inhaling tear gas. Officials said he is expected to be OK.

Channel 11 News was there as firefighters were getting sprayed down because they were exposed to chemicals. Those dangerous chemicals originally kept firefighters from the scene.

“It can be an irritant and the longer it goes out, the more irritating it gets,” Indiana County Hazmat official Tom Stutzman said. “With this wind blowing and breaking it up, we’ve got air monitors set up and we’re trying to do work downwind and do air monitoring.”

A manager of the company said the explosion happened in the main building, where they mainly work with tear gas.