A fire destroyed a large portion of a plastics recycling facility in rural Indiana nearly one year after a similar misfortune at the same location.
Hoehn Plastics Inc. of Poseyville, Ind., caught fire early July 9. The cause has not been determined, but lightning is suspected, officials said.
Lightning caused a fire in June 2000 at Hoehn's sister company, D&D Plastics, which is in the same compound. D&D, which makes expanded polystyrene filling for beanbags, was not affected by the most recent blaze.
Gibson County fire officials are investigating the cause of the Hoehn fire, said plant manager Paul Higgins.
Higgins said about 20,000 feet of the estimated 33,000-square-foot plant was destroyed along with a compounding line, mixing equipment and all of the company's office space. Total damage has not been determined, but Higgins said the equipment loss alone amounts to close to $1 million.
The three-shift, 25-employee operation was not running when the fire struck, and no injuries were reported, Higgins said.
Hoehn recycles post-industrial ABS, polycarbonate, polypropylene, polystyrene and polyethylene for injection molders serving automotive and other markets, Higgins said. The operation reprocessed 2.5 million pounds of resin in the first quarter of 2001.
Higgins said Hoehn Plastics is just beginning to discuss temporary manufacturing arrangements and eventually rebuilding the company, but no details are available yet.
Having to address the same issues just a year after rebuilding from the previous fire is taxing, Higgins said as multiple phones rang in one area apparently not destroyed by the blaze.
``We're a family business - most of the employees are treated like family,'' Higgins said in a July 10 telephone interview. ``It's really tragic, but everybody's bonding together and willing to do what it takes to come back. We trust in God that he does all things well.''