A fire destroyed two plastics company buildings Sept. 14 in Richmond, Ind.: a warehouse used by custom sheet extruder Primex Plastics Corp. and the headquarters of plastics research firm JHG Associates.
Primex lost about 1.4 million pounds of polypropylene and polyethylene resin in a warehouse that was used by its corrugated sheet plant, according to Tim Schultz, Primex vice president of sales and marketing.
The warehouse was unoccupied at the time and no employees were injured, he said.
Primex occupies a five-block area in Richmond. Schultz said the complex is fully operational, except for the corrugated sheet plant, which was to resume operations the week of Sept. 24.
``We did not lose any extrusion equipment,'' Schultz said.
JHG Associates lost its 20,000-square-foot facility when flames jumped across railroad tracks from the Primex facility and ignited JHG's roof, according to its owner, Jim Grimm.
Grimm said JHG develops products and makes a specialty pellet that allows product lots to be tracked. The company also markets laminating equipment for Graphic Technologies of Auckland, New Zealand.
Grimm said the fire started midafternoon Sept. 14 at the Primex warehouse, and ``by 5 p.m. a big fireball went across the tracks and caught my roof on fire, and after a couple of hours, there was nothing but ashes.''
``I was out of town, but I could see smoke as far away as Dayton, [Ohio,] which is 40 miles away,'' he said.
Grimm said he will rebuild in the same spot, because it is near his home.
``At this point we have most of the production and [research and development] records, so we can continue,'' he said, adding that the firm planned to rent space the week of Sept. 17.
Grimm said a rebuilding schedule will depend on how fast an insurance settlement can be reached, and when contractors can take the job, because ``Richmond has a booming construction business.''
However, he is making plans to supply customers in the interim.
Grimm said he has 47 years of experience in the plastics industry. JHG was started in 1984, and currently only he and his wife, Genevieve, are on the payroll.
``We were in the process of hiring four new people, but I guess that will have to wait,'' he added.
Richmond Fire Chief Mike Crawley said in a Sept. 19 telephone interview that firefighters remained on the scene extinguishing hot spots. The cause of the fire is being investigated. More than 125 firefighters assisted in battling the blaze.
Plastics News senior reporter Bill Bregar contributed to this story.