By: Catherine Kavanaugh
March 28, 2014
Arson investigators are looking into the cause of a March 27 fire that swept through a storage yard at a WL Plastics Corp. facility in Mills, Wyo., destroying a large amount of high density polyethylene pipe and two utility poles.
David Fink, senior vice president of sales, said March 28 that no one was injured in the blaze and the amount of pipe damaged has not been determined.
“The site is currently under quarantine to give the authorities time to do their investigation. We haven’t been able to get on site and assess the damage,” Fink said.
“There’s very little information known at this time other than we were able to evacuate all of our employees safely and shut the plant down. As far as damage to the facility, how much pipe was burned up, etc., we don’t a number.”
Local media reports say as much as 8 million pounds of pipe worth $8 million to $10 million burned in the fire, which took about five hours to get under control.
Arson specialists from Colorado and Texas were called in to help determine the point of origin of the fire, which could be accidental, local reports also say.
The fire was discovered by WL Plastics employees, according to a company statement.
“Fortunately our employees spotted the fire early and upon notifying the fire department, they shut the plant down and everyone was safely evacuated,” the statement says. “We would like to thank the first responders for their help in successfully containing and putting out the fire and protecting all of the people and buildings in the area.
“The fire is believed to have been contained to the pipe yard but it is unknown if any damage occurred to the plant building and related plant infrastructure at this time.
“We are cooperating with local authorities in their investigation and working closely with customers to ensure we can meet their requirements from alternate WL Plastics plant locations.”
Based in Fort Worth, Texas, WL Plastics has seven plants making pipe for the oil and gas industries, municipal water and sewer systems, mining businesses and agricultural irrigation. The company has sales of $320 million, according to the most recent Plastics News ranking.