FRONT ROYAL,VA. (March 6, 4:20 p.m. ET) — A Toray Plastics America Inc. plant sustained significant damage in a March 3 blaze, but should be back in operation by early next week, officials said.
The fire started in a confined radiation chamber in the Front Royal, Va., plant at 9:54 p.m.
The initial blaze, or flash fire, was doused by an overhead sprinkler system, but firefighters found several smoldering hotspots in the surrounding area, said Gerry Maiatico, Warren County fire marshal.
Several crews from Warren County responded to the scene. The fire was extinguished in about an hour, but firefighters remained on scene for several hours removing smoke and conducting investigations.
The fire remains under investigation and an exact cause has not been determined, Maiatico said, adding that the fire was accidental and was probably caused by a mechanical malfunction.
The fire did cause significant damage, but an official estimate was not available, Maiatico said.
Equipment located above the chamber was damaged, but can be repaired, said Paul Cobb, general manager of the plant.
While the fire only affected a small area of the plant, operations at the facility have been suspended until early next week, Cobb said.
Maintenance crews were in the plant at the time of the fire and greeted emergency crews when they arrived on scene. The workers' quick action, coupled with Toray's safety protocols, prevented the blaze from being much worse, Maiatico said.
There were no injuries to employees or emergency crews, he said.
Toray Plastics America, with headquarters in North Kingston, R.I., is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Toray Industries Inc.
The 165,000 square-foot Virginia plant houses the company's PEF division, and produces polypropylene and polyethylene foams for the automotive, construction and industrial markets.