Updated: Materials firm Birch Plastics Inc. gave neighbors a place to stay after Hurricane Harvey struck the Houston area, and is assisting its own employees as well.
Houston-based Birch reopened Aug. 29, but around 20 of the firm's 27 employees were stranded at their homes, owner Rob Lang said in an Aug. 30 interview with Plastics News. By Aug. 31, most of that group was able to make it to work.
Available employees now are helping those affected by the storm with cleanup efforts. On Aug. 29, Birch opened its 70,000-square-foot warehouse to about 25 people — and their pets — who live in townhomes adjacent to the Birch site.
Those residents now have found other shelters, Lang said Aug. 31. “We came in and there were families on our stoop because they had been flooded,” he added. “So we opened up the warehouse.”
The Birch site has lost power twice since Aug. 25, but it was restored both times. Lang said the firm's building and equipment are safe, with only a few minor roof leaks.
He added Aug. 31 that trucks now were arriving at the site and that Birch was back to “semi-normal business,” with both of the firm's extrusion lines running.
Lang said that he and his staff are trying to make the best of their situation.
“There's a chance of rain every day, but right now the sun is out, so today is kind of a cleanup day,” he added.
Birch is a recycling and compounding firm that offers numerous grades of polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon and ABS to a wide variety of end markets. The firm is located just off of the South Loop Freeway — Interstate 610 — in southeast Houston.