NILES - A fire that destroyed a camper at a Niles steel plant where workers are on strike has been ruled an arson.
Firefighters were called out just before 7 p.m. Friday to Phillips Manufacturing, 504 Walnut St. Crews were able to extinguish the blaze within minutes. However, food and supplies for pickets being stored in the vehicle were destroyed.
Arson investigator Lt. Rodney Freel said Saturday an accelerant was used, and an investigation is under way.
Damage is estimated at about $1,500.
Both the union and representatives for the plant are cooperating, Freel said, and investigators also are reviewing footage from surveillance cameras.
About 44 members of United Steelworkers Local 4564-02 have been on strike since Sept. 13 over what they say are unfair wages, benefits and working conditions. Workers said recent events at the plant will only make them stronger.
"We're not leaving because we are fighting for what's right,'' Union member David Hanshaw told Tribune Chronicle newspartner WYTV 33 News.
A call from the Tribune Chronicle to United Steelworkers staff representative Dennis Brubaker, who has been leading negotiations for the striking workers, was not returned Saturday night.