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Cutting torch sparks fire at Phipps Bend

May 20th, 2014 10:44 pm by Jeff Bobo

Cutting torch  sparks  fire at Phipps Bend

Members of the Church Hill Fire Department place fans in the doorway of a section of the EPC East Tennessee plant (formerly Aladdin Plastics) at the Phipps Bend Industrial Park Tuesday morning. Jeff Bobo photo.

PHIPPS BEND — A fire at the former Aladdin Plastics plant in the Phipps Bend Industrial Park Tuesday morning resulted in minor damage, and evacuation of the facility, but there were no injuries reported.

At about 9:53 a.m., the Church Hill Fire Department was dispatched to a fire at the EPC East Tennessee plant.

By the time firefighters arrived, however, two sprinklers that had discharged had already extinguished the fire.

CHFD Chief David Wood said the fire occurred in a part of the facility called the finishing room, where at one time plastic products were painted.

"It's a part of the plant they haven't used for several years, and some contractors were in there using cutting torches to move some steel and conveyors out of there to another part of the building," Wood said. "Some of the sparks ignited in one of those paint booths. They call them finishing booths. There were some filters on the floor and probably dust on top of that, and it caught on fire."

Wood added, "It activated the sprinkler system, and there were two sprinkler heads used. That contained the fire and we just had a lot of smoke. The actual fire was actually out when we got there."

There were approximately 50 employees present who had to be evacuated from the building.

Firefighters used multiple fans to pull smoke out of the building.

"It was just contained to that one area and didn't really do much damage at all," Wood said. "It burnt one of those little booths up, but the sprinklers did their job."

The Carters Valley Volunteer fire Department assisted at the scene, as well as Hawkins County EMS, the Hawkins County Sheriff's Office, the Surgoinsville Police Department and the Hawkins County Emergency Management Agency.

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