A Sept. 1 fire at Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies Inc.'s Rogers, Ark., plant was deliberately set, according to an independent consultant. Angelo L. Pisani Jr., a state-certified fire and explosion investigator from New York, conducted his review on behalf of AERT's insurance company. Fire investigators for the Rogers police and fire departments have not completed their probe.
The fire caused $332,000 in lost raw materials and equipment damage and relocation. In addition, a leased storage area next to the plant was destroyed. President Joe Brooks estimated the damage to that facility to be about $750,000. Rebuilding and reinstallation of equipment for the manufacturing and load out areas of the plant have started. Full production is expected by early December, Brooks said.
Pisani's investigation determined the fire began on the third floor in the pellet mill area. In a Sept. 24 report, Pisani said, ``It is my opinion that the cause of the fire is incendiary ... The fire damage at the origin was inconsistent with limited potential-accidental ignition sources.''
AERT, a plastic lumber company, is no stranger to fires. In 1993, a $1.5 million fire destroyed a third of the Junction, Texas, plant. A $750,000 blaze damaged Razorback Farms, an affiliated company in Springdale, Ark., in 1994. The causes of both fires were undetermined.
In other news, AERT is preparing to enter into a letter of intent to establish a second plastic supply facility.