By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER – The Thomson Brothers Industries recycling plant at 210 Holt Road escaped major structural damage after a fire broke out there shortly after midnight yesterday.
There were no injuries, according to North Andover fire Lt. William McCarthy. Demolition debris on the main floor of the building ignited and the alarm sounded at 12:21 a.m., McCarthy said. The 30,000-square-foot plant, which has been operating on Hold Road since 2006, recycles demolition debris.
The sprinkler system helped keep the fire from spreading to the rest of the building, McCarthy said, plus the system sent an automatic alarm to the Fire Department.
All 12 firefighters on duty went to the blaze and seven others were called in, according to McCarthy. Lawrence Engine 9 also arrived.
The firefighting effort was aided by a TBI worker driving a front-end loader, McCarthy said. By breaking up the large pile of burning debris, firefighters were able to wet it down more effectively, he explained.
Firefighters were greeted by a huge cloud of thick, billowing smoke, the lieutenant said. Using saws with metal-cutting blades, they vented the corrugated steel roof to let the smoke escape, he said.
The fire was under control within 45 minutes, McCarthy estimated. After a fire watch of several hours, the last engine left at 5:17 a.m., he said.
The local Fire Department sent two engines, the ladder truck and two ambulances. Middleton firefighters covered Station 2 on Salem Street while Andover took care of Station 1 on Main Street, McCarthy said.
Other than the holes in the roof, the concrete-and-steel building did not sustain major damage, McCarthy said. It’s not likely the business will be shut down, he said.