When Arthur Morgan finished a week of plowing the 26 inches of snow that fell on the 10-mile road leading to his Artmor Plastics Corp., he figured he was in the clear.
The next day he got a phone call from the local authorities telling him, ``Not so quick.''
Rain fell Feb. 22 on top of the 2 feet of snow that blasted the East Coast during late February, which caused a section of the plant roof above a storage area to collapse. A third-floor block wall hit a propane tank, causing a leak. As a safety precaution, power to the Cumberland, Md.-based injection molder and thermoformer was cut off.
``Nothing in this life is so bad that it can't get worse,'' the 86-year-old said.
Morgan, president of Artmor since he started operations there in 1946, said the only good news that day was that the accident occurred on a Saturday when employees were not in the plant.
Morgan said his firm had been through disasters before. He is hopeful this incident will be no different.
``So far, I've been able to take disasters and turn them into assets,'' he said.
The company employs fewer than 20 and makes processing aids for the fibers industry, including package holders and caps. Located on top of Wills Mountain, Artmor owns its own snowplow and is accustomed to nasty weather.
The snowplow, though, could not prevent the 45,000-square-foot plant from having to be closed for the six days leading up to the accident, and then for the three weeks following it. Damage estimates have not been determined, he said.
``In the previous 37 years, we had only lost three days, and now we lost three weeks,'' he said. ``This was a real dilly.''
Artmor operates six injection molding and thermoforming machines, he said. The machines were not affected by the collapse.
When the snowstorm hit, Morgan, who said he does 100 sit-ups every morning, got out his shovel and began the slow process of digging out from underneath all the snow that fell.
``I shoveled snow for three days,'' he said. ``I had no chest pains or whatever, I just shoveled, shoveled, shoveled. I guess you could say I'm disgustingly healthy.''