Centro Inc. President Gary Rozek said he has not decided whether to rebuild Centro's Oxford, Iowa, rotational molding plant, which was destroyed in a Feb. 7 fire. The fire, which broke out at about 2 p.m., caused more than $3 million in damage, Rozek estimated. He expects Chubb Insurance to cover the cost of the damage. No one was injured, even though 35 employees were in the facility at the time of the blaze, according to Oxford Assistant Fire Chief Bill Stratton.
Stratton said the fire marshal determined the incident occurred after part of the plant roof collapsed on an electrical box. A load of melting snow on the roof apparently caused the collapse. Polyethylene resin in the building fueled the fire.
Centro transferred Oxford's work to its headquarters plant in North Liberty, Iowa, about 12 miles away. Rozek said he may take up to three months to decide whether to rebuild at Oxford.
More than half of Oxford's molds were saved and the rest can be rebuilt from original wood patterns stored at North Liberty. About 43,000 square feet of manufacturing space at Oxford was destroyed but the office area was saved. The plant was Centro's original facility when Rozek started the company in 1970. It had one McNeil and two Rotomatics rotomolding machines.
North Liberty has a few extra, used rotomolding machines that can take up the diverse Oxford work, Rozek said. It also has extra space following a 40,000-square-foot expansion last year to 150,000 square feet.
Centro Inc. had custom rotomolding sales of $36.5 million for the year ended June 30, which made it the sixth-largest North American rotomolder in Plastics News' ranking last year. It had five plants, 22 rotomolding machines and about 432 employees.