JESSUP — Fire equipment that was used to fight a factory fire in Jessup on Friday is the color purple today.
Firefighters believe the discoloration is from dye that leaked from barrels at Scranton Cooperage.
And they have been told by The Department of Environmental Protection not to use the stained gear until it can be checked out.
The purple dye was one of the most perplexing parts of that big fire at Scranton Cooperage on Friday. At times it was like a small purple river down Mid Valley Drive in Jessup.
Police tell us it’s very concentrated food dye. One drop of it mixed with water can make a gallon of dye. Now, the purple is all over firefighters’ gear.
Volunteer firefighters from Jessup visited Scranton Cooperage again Monday. Not to check for re-kindles after the massive fire there Friday, but to check for insurance information in hopes of fixing an unusual type of damage to hose company property.
White stripes on one of the company engines is now purple. It is from remnants of dye that leaked from the cooperage that cleans and recycles plastic barrels. The same dye is now permanently on the bottoms of about 30 pairs of turnout gear at Jessup Hose Company.
Repeated scrubbing didn’t take the stains out.
“We only have so much gear for members, we don’t have two sets of gear or anything for members due to the cost so we have a lot of members out of service until we hear back what we can do with our gear,” said Lt. Joe Kozuch.
Firefighters said they have been told by the DEP not to wear the gear until they can test the dye for any dangerous chemicals, leaving Jessup Hose Company with only five sets of unstained gear.
“It hurts, it hurts a volunteer company to have our top responders, most active guys, pretty much all of them were at that call and now they’re going to be out of service too if they have blue on their gear. It’s going to take a toll, it’s going to hurt,” Kozuch added.
If the tests come back as contaminated, it could cost the Jessup Hose Company more than $100,000 to replace all of the turnout gear.
Eureka Hose Company in Olyphant was second to respond to the fire. Officials there already know they’re down about eight hoses, that were once orange.
Replacing the hoses may cost the department $5,000.
Firefighters told Newswatch 16 that the fire on Friday was an accident sparked when an employee hit a barrel with a forklift.