An early morning fire March 31 destroyed most of the Republic Plastics LP plant in San Manuel, Ariz.
We are currently working to assess the damage. Two of our employees were injured in the fire and are receiving treatment for their injuries, Doug Ross, Republic's chief operating officer, said in a March 31 statement.
The fire broke out about 1:30 a.m. and was still burning in the late afternoon, Lt. Tamatha Villar of the Pinal County Sheriff's Department said in a telephone interview that day.
I would estimate that 60-75 percent of the facility was destroyed, she said.
Villar said 15 people were inside the plant, which manufactured polystyrene foam plates and bowls, when the fire erupted. All of them escaped.
Two Republic employees were taken to University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz. one by helicopter for treatment of smoke inhalation burns, Villar said. The victims were expected to recover from their injuries, she said.
Although the fire burned fiercely, no evacuation of the surrounding area was ordered, Villar said. Firefighters from departments in San Manuel and the towns of Oracle and Mammoth, Ariz., contained the flames, she said.
The San Manuel plant is one of three operated by Republic manufacturing private-label foam plates and bowls for the consumer retail and institutional food-service tableware markets. The company's other facilities are at its headquarters in McQueeney, Texas; and in Knoxville, Tenn.
Republic was founded in 1997 in Austin, Texas, as a two-person operation by partners Bill McMeans and Gino Inman. The San Manuel plant opened in 2005, Tucson-area news media reported.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
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