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Gouverneur firm awarded Alcoa roof project contract

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MASSENA — A Gouverneur firm is providing Alcoa with much of the steel necessary to repair the cast house roof damaged in a March fire.

Cives Steel Co. is manufacturing 70 trusses and other materials for the 80-by-400-foot repairs, according to project manager Brandon M. Sparacino. Tractor-trailers will haul the first of the 80-foot-long, 10-foot-tall trusses to Massena later this week.

Mr. Sparacino said Cives successfully bid for the contract, which was worth “a couple of a million dollars,” but he declined to comment on its specific cost. Alcoa spokeswoman Laurie A. Marr also declined comment on the contract price.

Cives’s Gouverneur plant was pleased to have a local project, as much of its work is for construction in the New York City area, Mr. Sparacino said. A total of 450 tons of steel will be used to manufacture the trusses, purlins and bracing that will reinforce the roof.

“The fire did quite a bit of damage to the integrity of the existing trusses,” Mr. Sparacino said. “It’s an exciting project for us. We can employ some local haulers and at the same time, help a local business out.”

Approximately 40 of Cives’s 150 Gouverneur employees have been working on the project over the summer, Mr. Sparacino said.

A malfunctioning piece of equipment sparked the March 29 blaze, which quickly leapt to the roof of the two-story cast house at the Massena West Plant. Smoke blanketed the village of Massena and could be seen for miles.

Alcoa announced repairs would commence at the cast house a couple of months ago, last through the summer and wrap up by winter. The first phase, which involved hauling away damaged materials from the building, started in June and is continuing, Ms. Marr said. There have been between 70 and 90 contractors, 85 to 90 percent of whom are local hires, working on the repairs each day.

Repairing the roof and installing the steel trusses is the next phase and will last several months, Ms. Marr said.

Alcoa still does not have an estimate for the total cost of cast house damage, as the investigation is still ongoing, she said. The area where the fire originated is still sectioned off and crews are working around it, she said.

The casting process at the plant provided one way for Alcoa to convert molten aluminum into a shippable product. Since the fire, Alcoa has been tackling that task at 50 percent of its pre-fire capacity.

“We’ve got to get that portion of the roof done to get to the next level of capacity restoration,” Ms. Marr said. “Our customers’ needs are being met.”

Soon after the fire, Alcoa reduced hours for 75 employees, but restored them after a couple of weeks. There have been no recent layoffs at the plant, Ms. Marr said. Alcoa’s Massena West operations employ approximately 540 hourly and 175 salaried workers.

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