A July 23 fire destroyed the Resin Solutions compounding plant in Etowah, Tenn., and about a million pounds of compound inventory stored on site.
No one was injured in the 7 a.m. blaze, Etowah Fire Chief Dale Ammons said. Resin Solutions owner Peter Unger and his mother Irene were in the building's office at the time but were able to escape when two security guards in a nearby building alerted them to the fire, which was in a different part of the 22,500-square-foot plant.
Unger and his mother ``owe their lives to those security guards,'' Ammons said. The plant's last shift had ended at about 2:30 a.m., so the Ungers were the only people at the site, Ammons added.
The cause of the fire is unknown and probably will remain so, because state environment officials ordered the site bulldozed and covered with dirt the next day.
Officials took that action out of concern that chemical runoff from the fire could enter a local stream that feeds the Hiwassee River.
Residents of a nearby trailer park were evacuated for a short time until the fire was under control.
Damages were estimated at $1.5 million. Unger, who could not be reached for comment, is unsure whether he will rebuild, Ammons said.
Resin Solutions, formerly known as Oasis Plastics, was in the process of doubling the size of its production area at the time of the fire, according to a story in the July 21 Chattanooga Times.
Etowah is in eastern Tennessee between Chattanooga and Knoxville.