An Aug. 4 fire heavily damaged Green Tree Plastics LLC, an Evansville, Ind., company known for making plastic lumber for school groups using caps and lids collected by children.
The fire started at about 1 p.m. from an exhaust fan and spread quickly when it ignited a pile of plastic pellets, according to the Evansville Fire Department. Workers tried unsuccessfully to put it out with an extinguisher. Ten workers were in the plant at the time. All escaped and no one was hurt.
"At this time Green Tree Plastics is closed for business. We are working with water, power, the fire marshals and the insurance agencies at this time to start coming up with a plan to rebuild and move forward," the company wrote in reply to questions from Plastics News.
Green Tree officials wrote on Facebook that part of the building was not damaged.
"The overwhelming calls, texts, posts, and support is so amazing I truly cannot even express in words. Please know it has touched our hearts and is what keeps us pushing through!!! We truly love you all!!!" the company wrote.
"We will continue to post updates once the power is restored to the section of the plant that wasn't destroyed. We have our fingers crossed the power will be back on tomorrow," the Aug. 6 post said.
The post links to a GoFundMe page with a goal of $5,000 to help the company rebuild, clean up machinery "and help with everything insurance won't cover for them."
Green Tree Plastics is known for its A Bench for Caps (ABC) program, which partners with schoolchildren to teach them about plastics recycling.
Children's groups send Green Tree plastic caps and lids, which the company uses to make park furniture including benches, tables and park furniture. Schools from across the country have participated in the project.
Green Tree uses 100 percent recycled plastics in its products, according to its website.