In the aftermath of a Feb. 5 fire that damaged the plant and one of two machines at Rochester Rotational Molding Inc., the company has outsourced some work to another Indiana molder, Elkhart Plastics Inc., said President Marilyn Wade, who plans to resume partial production soon.
``At this point, we're just looking at all of our options,'' she said by telephone Feb. 10 from Rochester, Ind. ``We're looking at existing buildings in town that are available for a short-term lease.''
Executives at several other rotomolding companies have called offering to help. One was Jack Welter, president of Elkhart Plastics of Middlebury, Ind. Welter said his company competes with Rochester, but he would want help if his company faced a similar crisis.
Wade said Welter's company is running a custom molded container and lid. ``Elkhart Plastics is going to run the volume part that we were running. We have orders right now until September,'' she said.
Wade is trying to locate another molder in the South to run Rochester's proprietary products, septic tanks and pump tanks for the waste-water market.
The fire started about 4 p.m., as smoke started coming out of Rochester's larger machine, a shuttle press with a 15-foot swing. Although fire officials had not finished their investigation, Wade said it appeared the fire started in the oven of the big machine.
Employees noticed the smoke and called the fire department.
``It was pretty significant,'' Wade said. ``The shop filled up with black smoke in about 30 seconds.''
The fire spread to wooden trusses and caused part of the steel roof to cave in. The big machine was damaged, and Wade said officials are evaluating whether they will be able to salvage it.
A smaller clamshell machine was not damaged, and should go back into production soon, she said.
The fire was confined to an older part of the factory between a newer plant addition and the office area, which were not damaged. The company still is open, she said.
Firefighters battled the blaze for about five hours. There were no injuries.