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The Dec. 15 fire at Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies Inc.'s Rogers, Ark., plant that caused about $2 million in damage is being called arson.

AERT President Joe Brooks estimated Dec. 31 it would take three to four weeks to get a portion of the facility back into production. The Rogers plant makes plastic lumber from recycled polyethylene.

The fire — the fifth at an AERT plant since January 1993 — is under investigation by local, state and federal authorities, including the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. AERT's executive officers voluntarily have taken and passed polygraph tests.

AERT is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Estimated equipment and wiring damage is about $1.6 million and $400,000 for building and structural damage.

The plant had resumed operations after a Sept. 1 fire had destroyed a leased adjacent building. The most recent fire damaged a large portion of the reclamation facility, including part of the roof.

``We are working with our insurance carrier and the local building authorities to promptly commence rebuilding,'' Brooks said.