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Blow Molded Specialties recovers from fire

By: Frank Antosiewicz

November 13, 2012

FOLEY, MINN. (Nov. 13, 2:10 p.m. ET) — Three months ago fire destroyed Blow Molded Specialties Inc.’s offices, in Foley, but the setback strengthened its resolve.

“Manufacturing never missed a beat, but it disrupted our office operations,” President Doug von Arb said by phone. “We’ve got a really awesome team and everybody pulled together.”

BMSI is preparing to break ground on its new office space.

According to von Arb, the building was closed when a defective water heater caused the blaze. Von Arb said he was notified Aug. 18 that the offices had been destroyed.

“The fire never got out of control and was contained to the offices,” he said. “The firefighters did a fantastic job.”

Von Arb said it was difficult to adjust to the fire damage, but some warehouse space has been converted for office use. The firm plans to add 2,000 square feet to the front of the building. The exterior shell should be up by Thanksgiving and the inside work done in January. The plant will be about the same size, but will occupy only one floor instead of two.

Blow Molded Specialties makes parts for air-intake systems for trucks; heating, venting and air conditioning ducts; cab parts for tractors; and components for all-terrain vehicles. Overall, it employs 65 in a 60,000-square-foot facility with 11 Kautex and Milacron blow molding machines. It also has six Fanuc six-axis robots in portable enclosures that can be moved to any work cell.