Peter and Isabella Stone talk with the New York State Fire Marshall and discuss details of Wednesday nights fire.
by Dave Warner
A fire broke out at PEMS Tool & Machine, Inc., at 125 Southern Ave in Little Falls at a little after 5 pm on Tuesday afternoon.
Peter Stone and his son Alex, along with engineers and a pilot were clustered around an experimental electric helicopter when the batteries suddenly exploded. The prototype electric model was being assembled at PEMS on Southern Ave, while construction continued at the former Redco site at Hansen Island.
According to Peter, “It just popped and flames started shooting out. Within 30 seconds, it was gone. We hit it with three fire extinguishers. Within 15 minutes, the metal started changing because I think titanium caught on fire as well.”
There were six people in the building at the time of the fire, out of a total of 30 that normally work there.
“One-third of the building is gone. We were just getting ready to go to dinner. It was like a napalm bomb or a phosphorus bomb went off when that battery exploded. There were pieces flying everywhere,” said the elder Stone.
Right now, the goal is to get into the part of the building that has the least amount of damage and try and close it off so that it can be cleaned, heated, and electricity returned to that section.
The extension that was destroyed, held equipment and inventory that was all lost in the fire. Insurance will cover most of the loss, but the concern for the Stones is whether their customers will have the patience to stick with them while they try to rebuild.
Multiple fire departments from around the area, as well as ambulances from Movac, Herkimer, Ilion, and Little Falls joined the Little Falls Fire Department in responding to the fire.
PEMS has been an innovative company for the last 25 years and three shifts run in their 20,000 square foot facility. They currently service the aerospace, automotive, and gun manufacturing industries. A water main broke while they were attempting to fight the fire, and tanker trucks from around the area were called in for assistance.
More details will be released as they become available.