Replex Plastics has begun to recover from a devastating fire at its thermoforming plant in Mount Vernon, Ohio.
Fire struck the Central Ohio Industrial Park about 4 p.m. on May 29, destroying Replex's plant as well as storage and other areas in the park. No one was injured. Two youths were charged with arson, Knox County Sheriff David Barber announced June 1.
``We were fortunate to have purchased a year ago a new 100,000-square-foot facility about a mile from here,'' said Pat Kula, Replex vice president of sales and marketing. A tenant in that facility recently vacated, leaving the whole building for Replex's needs. Replex is beginning to move into its new home.
Kula said in a telephone interview that his firm will try to salvage some equipment damaged in the fire. It also is buying new equipment. He expects limited production will begin in the new plant in a few weeks.
``Industry support has been phenomenal,'' Kula said from a temporary office in Mount Vernon. Suppliers and competitors have offered their support and services. Such support means Replex's critical accounts will get their shipments, Kula said.
Replex thermoforms optical domes for security cameras and other uses, domes and windows for playground equipment, and security mirrors.
It could take six months or more before Replex is at full speed, Kula said. One thermoforming machine could be salvageable, but three others appear to be total losses. All four metalizer machines were totaled. Of three computerized numerically control cutting machines, one might be salvageable and another will be refurbished.
Replex also uses Bayer Corp. color infusion technology to decorate parts after they are formed, but the colorizing project met a setback because equipment was lost in the fire. Kula said short runs of post-forming colorization are possible but long runs will take a while to recover.
Kula said it was too early to estimate damage. Officials calculated damage at about $2.75 million for all affected areas of the park.