A spark from a torch yesterday might have hurried along the demolition of the former Castle Brand meat-packing Plant.

New Castle firefighters were called at 5:20 p.m. yesterday to 410 Hobart St., where they spent the night fighting a blaze at the building that broke out while demolition crews were working.

Firemen were still at the scene late this morning.

Twice during the night, portions of roof collapsed — once when two fire fighters were inside, according to fire Chief Tom Maciarello. No one was hurt.

“They had a demolition company ready to tear down the building,” he said. “We called in excavators this morning to take down some walls so we could get in at the fire.”

Maciarello said 21 firefighters — five men on duty and 16 called out — battled the blaze.

He said teams were sent back to the station to rest up periodically, and firemen regrouped through the night.

“Our game plan was surround and drown,” Maciarello said. “We hit it from all sides.”

The 150 x 150-foot building was in the process of being demolished. Workers were using a torch to cut pipe, and they left the job around 4:30 p.m. yesterday, he said. The fire trucks were called almost an hour later.

“Apparently, a spark got away from them,” he said.

Assistant chief Joe Bongivengo said the fire seemed to have spread on the wooden roof where the pipe cutters had been working.

“That is an old building,” he said. “The wood is dry and the fire just spread.”

The building is owned by John B. Leali.

With all available city firemen at the fire, Union Township Volunteer Fire Department was called to provide backup.

Union chief Steve Stasko said he and seven of his volunteers and the department’s trucks went to the city’s central fire station and took seven other calls.

“They were the usual kinds of calls, medical alerts, one false alarm, no fires,” he said.

New Castle’s department got 16 calls during the past 24 hours, Bongivengo pointed out, adding, “Some days it never stops.”

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