Firefighters in Carrollton, Ga., believe a malfunction in a rooftop exhaust fan started a July 5 fire that destroyed the Superior Recreational Products factory, which made playground equipment from metal and plastic components, including rotationally molded items.
Allen English, a battalion chief and fire investigator, said the fan motor locked up, building up heat and igniting nearby combustible objects. He said the exhaust fan was about 30 years old.
The 80,000-square-foot building burned to the ground. Two employees inside the building for the evening shift escaped without injury. The fire burned for about three hours, collapsing the roof and gutting the building.
"We determined that the exhaust fan in the roof had some sort of electrical malfunction," English said.
English said it appeared that plastic products and cardboard packaging caused the fire to spread rapidly. Other fans were running, and the doors were open. "After that it was off to the races," he said.
English said the Carrollton Fire Department worked with the company's insurance investigator and talked to employees.
Superior Recreational Products is owned by Playcore Holdings Inc. of Chattanooga, Tenn.
Playcore said the Carrollton plant damaged production of rotomolded products, shade fabric, playground production and assembly, indoor play, component production and offices.