Fire destroyed a 40,000-square-foot warehouse and one truck trailer May 28 at the Tijuana, Mexico, complex of Mulay Plastics Inc. An apparently defective fluorescent ballast set some corrugated paperboard on fire at about 7 p.m., Executive Vice President Jack Shedd said in a recent telephone interview.
Workers tried to move the flaming material out of the warehouse with a forklift, but the fire already had spread. About four employees were in the warehouse; none were reported injured.
Built in 1998, the concrete structure contained polycarbonate and fire-resistant polystyrene resins, some finished goods and the paperboard. Damage exceeded $3 million, according to Shedd. The custom injection molder is based in Carol Stream, Ill.
Nine Tijuana firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation, but no other injuries were reported. Crews responded promptly to the alarm, contained the blaze after several hours and kept the fire from spreading. The department remained on the scene for about a day, Shedd said.
Within the U-shaped Mulay campus, another 150 people were working in a 125,000-square-foot manufacturing area for molding and decorating and a separate, 30,000-square-foot warehouse.
Production was halted and resumed May 30.
"We need to regroup so as not to affect deliveries," Shedd said.
Mulay will rebuild the warehouse and, meanwhile, shift some functions within the remaining space.
The complex operates around the clock and employs about 600. Mulay began production in Tijuana in January 1996.
Typically, Mulay has about 40 trailers in a delivery area.