Fire damages Arkansas PVC fittings plant

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WYNNE, ARK. (Sept. 13, 8 p.m. ET) — A production facility in Wynne belonging to Mueller Industries Inc. was destroyed by fire last week. There were no injuries reported but the fire affected the firm’s PVC fittings operation.

The fire started around a casting furnace used to melt copper, said Wynne Mayor Bob Stacy in a Sept. 13 telephone interview.

“The fire started slowly. People couldn’t get it extinguished. By the time the fire department got there, it had gone to the roof.”

Roughly 175 employees have been indefinitely laid off because of the fire, Stacy said. Total production of plastics parts was housed in the building, which was largely affected by smoke and water damage.

In a statement, Mueller officials said the fire was contained to one of three buildings on its campus in Wynne. The damage was limited to production of PVC fittings for drain, waste and vent applications, fabrication of line sets for air conditioning applications, and casting operations for copper tube.

Mueller has reallocated production to other Mueller facilities and also is using third party vendors, officials said. Its distribution at Wynne will continue operation; it was unaffected by the fire.

Stacy said Mueller is the largest employer in Wynne, a community of 8,300 residents. Mueller’s total workforce is about 450. Presently, Wynne officials are negotiating to be able to locate packaging operations in another warehouse temporarily.