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No injuries reported in second AERT fire

By:

July 26, 2013

SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies Inc. has experienced its second fire in as many weeks.

A silo exploded at an AERT plant in Lowell, Ark., on July 25, followed by two fires at the site.

According to Springdale-based AERT, a silo ruptured at the recycling facility at 7:18 a.m. and roof tiles popped off, as designed, due to pressure buildup.

Firefighters secured the site and extinguished the material inside the silo by noon. At 3:50 p.m., the material reignited. The Lowell Fire Department returned and extinguished the fire, according to a company statement.

There were no injuries.

The plant was evacuated as a safety precaution and should resume normal operations soon, AERT said.

AERT will "disassemble the silo, remove the material, and make appropriate repairs and safety inspections."

On July 17, one worker was killed and two injured in a fire at one of AERT's Springdale plants.

According to local news reports, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Little Rock, Ark., is investing both fires.

AERT makes wood-plastic decking and other composite building materials from recycled polyethylene plastics. Its product lines include ChoiceDek and MoistureShield.

The company had sales of $74.6 million in 2012.

AERT has had several fires over the years. A dust explosion blew the roof off a silo at another AERT Springdale plant last year, and a Springdale plant also experienced a minor fire in 2008. An AERT facility in Junction, Texas, was destroyed by fire in early 2003. From 1993-1997, five fires were reported at AERT facilities, two of which were declared arsons.