The incident occurred at 6 a.m. when a three-foot hole in the tank caused the molten glass to spill, according to Salem City Fire Chief Fred Ayars. No injuries were reported.
"There was just a flaw in the tank," said Ayars. "We were able to cool things down and when the molten glass cooled it hardened."
According to Gary Shears, general manager of Anchor Glass, the spillage happened overnight when a metal strap gave way and opened an area on the tank. Workers had to shut down the gas line, which is located throughout the operation, according to Shears.
"This time of the year we have preventive maintenance that we do and it happened through the night," said Shears. "Everything was under control in about two hours and we really appreciate the work of the fire department."
According to Shears, the damage was seen as minor and is still being assessed.
Anchor Glass has water lances that clean the inside of the furnaces and because of the lances, workers were able to freeze the glass to ward off any further problems that may have occurred.
Water lances clean large areas of furnaces using water jets. Workers were able to cool off and freeze the molten with the help of the water lances in the furnaces.
The biggest loss Anchor Glass faced was the damage done to the furnace electrodes and the cost of the repairs, which is still being determined. The furnace electrodes are used in the melting process of the glass and maintains the furnace temperatures.
Currently, workers are now cleaning the area and patching the furnace up with an overcoat. This process should be finished today.
"We already have two other furnaces running and our start-up schedule is Jan. 2 so we are on schedule," said Shears. "We will be conducting inspections to make sure there are no other weaknesses in the furnaces and tanks."
Molten glass tanks usually last for about 20 to 25 years, said Shears.
"The tank that ruptured was installed around 1993 or 1994," he said. "I just want to thank the fire department. There was a good response and a joint effort in training. We had good support."
Salem City Fire Department responded at 6 a.m. Saturday for the incident and remained in service for two hours and 15 minutes. Fenwick Ambulance, Reliance Fire Department, Elsinboro Fire Department, Pennsville Fire Department, Salem County Fire Police and Salem Ladies Auxiliary responded to assist.