A Toray Plastics America Inc. plant sustained significant damage in a March 3 blaze, but should be back in operation early this week, officials said.
The fire started at 9:54 p.m. in a confined radiation chamber in the firm's Front Royal, Va., plant. The initial blaze, or flash fire, was doused by an overhead sprinkler system, but firefighters found several smoldering hot spots in the surrounding area, Gerry Maiatico, Warren County fire marshal, said by phone. There were no injuries to employees or emergency crews, he said.
Several crews from Warren County responded to the scene. The fire was extinguished in about an hour, but firefighters remained on the scene for several hours, removing smoke and conducting investigations.
The fire remains under investigation and an exact cause had not been determined last week, Maiatico said, adding that the fire was accidental and 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 radiation chamber was damaged, but can be repaired, said Paul Cobb, general manager of the plant. Although the fire only affected a small area of the plant, operations were suspended.
Maintenance crews were in the plant at the time of the fire. The workers' quick action, coupled with Toray's safety protocols, prevented the blaze from being much worse, Maiatico 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.