Fan maker Merry Tech International SA de CV halted operations after April 24 and 27 fires destroyed three of its seven manufacturing buildings in Tijuana, Mexico.
``We are shutting down for the remainder of the week, doing cleanup and evaluating the situation on where we need to go,'' Vice President Michael Yu said by telephone.
The company has been planning to expand, but Yu said Merry Tech now needs to evaluate the environment in Mexico ``to come up with a new investment strategy.''
Along with local fire and police forces, agents of Mexico's law enforcement agency Procuraduría General de la República were investigating suspicious circumstances.
The April 24 fire destroyed a 16-month-old injection molding building, causing about $1.5 million in structural damage. The fire also damaged 12 presses with 500-1,000 tons of clamping force as well as resin blending equipment. Merry Lane unit Mytek SA owns the 100,000-square-foot building.
Operations resumed April 27 and ``the plant was at maximum production,'' Yu said.
But about 10 a.m., a fire was detected between two rented, 3-year-old structures that house assembly lines and finished products. The flames spread and consumed the buildings, which occupied 80,200 and 71,300 square feet.
Hundreds of employees were evacuated and sent home without notice about when to return. No injuries were reported. The fire was under control by noon, but initial estimates placed losses in the millions of dollars.
The Merry Tech complex employs 1,200 and manufactures Mytek-brand electric fans, small consumer appliances such as juice blenders and rechargeable, battery-powered toys. The seven buildings total 525,000 square feet of space on 62 acres. One structure contains 70 molding machines.
Merry Tech, owned by Dada Enterprises Inc. of Taipei, Taiwan, has operated in Tijuana since 1989 and is Mexico's largest retail fan supplier. The company has experienced major growth, with another building planned by year's end and four more structures projected in the next three years.
Firefighters remained at the scene April 29, said Angel Gopar, an assistant in administration with the Tijuana fire department.
A lack of nearby hydrants hampered firefighters, who relied on water drawn from tanker trucks that usually make deliveries to residents.