Firefighters contain molten glass spill at Jeannette Specialty Glass

September 25, 2018

Lieutenant Shawn Fogle fights to keep a molten glass breakout contained and from spreading to the structural members of the building on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018.

Multiple fire departments responded Thursday to the Jeannette Specialty Glass plant after the bottom of a glass tank blew and spilled molten glass.

There was about 30 inches of glass heated to 2,700 degrees inside the tank at the time, Jeannette Fire Capt. Joe Matijevic said. There were no injuries and damage was minimal, he said.

The call came in at about 3 p.m. Authorities closed North 4th Street between Harrison and Hacker avenues as firefighters worked. They flushed water over the molten glass to keep it from spreading, Matijevic said.

Crews were still working as of 4:30 p.m. Firefighters rotated in and out of the building in order to keep cool, Matijevic said. Jeannette and Grandview fire departments responded.

Jeannette Specialty Glass employees at the scene declined to comment.

Ted Sarniak founded the company in 1976. It was born of the Jeannette Shade and Novelty Co., which operated at the current facility since 1904. It was one of several glass companies once located in area.

Jeannette Specialty Glass works with hardy borosilicate glass, which is more resistant to temperature fluctuations and scratching. The company started out producing industrial glass lighting products, such as highway or parking garage lights, but later diversified to also produce items for home use under the brand JSG Oceana.

The flexibility to produce items that weigh as little as a quarter-pound to ones over 40 pounds is one way they’ve managed to stay competitive and survive as one of the only remaining glass manufacturers in the region, according to company officials. The family-owned company employs about 50 people.

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