Schott Factory Shows Off Life After Fire

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DURYEA -- Dozens of employees and their families were able to tour the Schott Glass factory Saturday. The open house comes a little more than two years after a fire damaged more than half the factory. 

"It broke my heart to be honest with you," said employee Sean Sheare. "It was a really tough night to come back here and see the flames and the fire trucks on site."

Newswatch 16 interviewed Sheare where the warehouse once stood, 212,000 square feet that still sits empty.

"They lost all of this here and everything is gone," added employee Stanley Budzilek, who is the longest serving employee at the plant. Schott Glass specializes in making high tech glass for aerospace, the military and other kinds of companies.

"I never thought we'd be here," Budzilek added. "Everybody had their doubts of what was going to happen to the plant after the fire. It was really was amazing that we're back."

But now, leaders at Schott are spending this day celebrating how far the plant has come by showing off state of the art equipment and more things coming in the future.

"The industry as you know is going from very large pieces of glass and things are becoming miniaturized," said plant manager Michael Platt. "A lot of our glass is used in cell phones, telescopes, cameras and so forth, so we have to be caught up with the market."

The plant is smaller and leaner than before the fire in terms of size and staff; it went from about 225 employees to now 140. The plant manager tells Newswatch 16 he is hoping to hire 14 more people in the near future, on top of a recent $1 million dollar investment to expand the plant's technology.