Horti-Pak fire forces area evacuations
KINGSVILLE, ONTARIO - An electrical failure is the suspected cause of a June 20 fire that resulted in millions of dollars' worth of damage at Horti-Pak and forced about 600 Kingsville residents to evacuate their homes.
Horti-Pak, a thermoformer of polystyrene seed trays, caught fire and people in surrounding homes were advised to evacuate because of fumes. Most were relocated to nearby Leamington, Ontario, and were told it was safe to return June 23. Five nearby schools were closed June 21.
Although workers were in the plant the evening of June 20, no one at Horti-Pak was injured in the blaze, said Kingsville Fire Chief Bob Kissner. The 85,000-square-foot plant employed about 20. Local firefighters let the blaze burn out. Kissner said by telephone that damage will be ``in the millions of dollars'' and that electrical failure is the suspected cause.
Owners of the private firm planned to set up a temporary office, Kissner said. Efforts to reach them were unsuccessful.
Tilbury, owner guilty in worker's death
CHATHAM, ONTARIO - Post-industrial plastics recycler Tilbury Plastics Inc. and its owner have been found guilty of a safety violation that led to a worker's death Jan. 7, 1999.
Jared Dietrich, 19, died after being pulled into a machine at the Tilbury, Ontario, plant. Tilbury Plastics and company owner Kofi Adomako each were charged and found guilty for failing to ensure the safety of a machine operator. The machine lacked a guard to prevent the worker's entrapment.
Adomako and his company will be sentenced Sept. 16, said Moira McIntyre, spokeswoman for the Ontario Labour Ministry.
Adomako and Tilbury Plastics were tried by Justice Bruce Thomas in Ontario District Court in Chatham on June 21. They faced seven safety violation charges but were acquitted on six of them. Adomako could not be reached for comment.
Alside parent sells electrical cable biz
CUYAHOGA FALLS, OHIO - Associated Materials Inc. is shedding its electrical cable business to focus more on vinyl products.
Terms of the June 24 deal were not disclosed. Proceeds will be used to repay part of AMI's debt, officials said. AmerCable represented less than 15 percent of AMI's $596 million in 2001 sales.
AmerCable, based in El Dorado, Ark., has been a sister company to vinyl extruder Alside Inc. since 1984.
New York investment firm Harvest Partners Inc. bought Cuyahoga Falls-based AMI in March.
Wellman, Voridian boost PET resin
SHREWSBURY, N.J. - Voridian Co. and Wellman Inc. are partnering in a move that will boost North American PET bottle resin capacity by 260 million pounds.
Wellman also announced a separate move to modify an existing polyester fiber line in Bienville, Miss., to add 285 million pounds of annual PET bottle resin capacity starting in 2004.
Under the Voridian-Wellman deal, Kingsport, Tenn.-based Voridian - a unit of Eastman Chemical Co. - will supply Shrewsbury-based Wellman with solid-stating capacity to make PET bottle resin in exchange for amorphous PET supplied by Wellman from converted fiber chip lines in Palmetto, S.C.
Tom Duff, Wellman chairman and chief executive officer, said in a June 28 news release that the deal ``will result in a significant expansion of PET resin supply at low capital costs to meet growing demand'' in North America.
Resin produced under the arrangement will be independently marketed by each firm. The deal is set to commence in 2003.
Engel sales VP Kurt Fenske retires
GUELPH, ONTARIO - After a 42-year career in plastics machinery, Kurt Fenske retired from Engel North America.
The longtime vice president of sales and marketing, and most recently vice president of business development, retired May 31. Fenske spent 27 years at Engel, working out of Guelph, and before that, 15 years at Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. of Bolton. He played a key role in helping start both injection press assembly operations in Canada.
Fenske, who lives in Guelph, said he plans to relax and enjoy his retirement. He has no immediate plans to do any consulting.
A native of Germany, Fenske moved to Canada in 1956. Today he is well-known for his injection molding expertise, but his first job in Canada was working in a gold mine in northern Ontario.