A fire early Tuesday gutted a vacant plane factory in East Farmingdale, fire officials said.
The blaze was reported just after 12:20 a.m. at the old Fairchild Republic Co. on Conklin Street, according to a Suffolk County fire official.
The fire consumed much of a concrete and cement block building, which was set about 400 feet from the street, East Farmingdale firefighters said.
The building, about 40 feet by 120 feet, was ablaze when the first of about 35 firefighters arrived, and it was a challenge getting access, said First Assistant Chief Matthew Joseph of the East Farmingdale Fire Department.
The building is on a gated property bordered by Republic Airport to the south and Long Island Rail Road tracks to the north.
A private company leases the site to mulch vegetation, Joseph said.
"It's very tight quarters and we had to get equipment in there," Joseph said.
One pumper and one aerial ladder truck drove through what a firefighter described as "alleyways" between mounds of mulch and hills of Sandy-damaged trees.
LIRR service on the Farmingdale line was suspended for about an hour because brush on one side of the tracks caught fire, Joseph said.
The building blaze was under control by 2:30 a.m. About a half-hour later an excavator from Babylon Town arrived to knock down the building, which was deemed structurally unsafe.
Police said arson detectives were at the scene and want to review videos from the area to determine the cause.
Aviation manufacturing stopped at the plant in 1988.
In 1992, the plant's owners signed a consent decree with state environmental officials to clean up contaminants at the site.