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Harrison industrial plant catches fire

Pace Industries is a staple in the Harrison community

April 21, 2013|by Lauren Pozen, KSPR News Reporter | lpozen@kspr.com

HARRISON, Ark. -- An industrial building caught fire early Sunday morning. It happened at Pace Industries, just along the U.S. 65/62 bypass. It took crews two hours to put out the blaze.

Krooked Kreek volunteer fire fighter Rick Roberts helped fight the flames at the place he once worked years ago.

"No one would ever thought we'd see this. This is one of our major employers in town," he said.

The building is 380,000 square feet. The entire roof caught fire, damaging about half of it. Large smoke plumes were seen from miles away.

"One side of the building, at least half way down, had smoke plumes coming out," said Tom Batson with the Red Cross.

Harrison Fire Chief Mark Lowery says this was a very difficult fire for crews to put out. The building is industrial and he says there was a lot of metal they couldn't put water on.

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Chief Lowery says every year, his crew conducts multiple pre-fire walkthroughs. This helped fire fighters know the landscape of the building well when fighting the flames today.

Pace Industry CEO Scott Bull says it is believed the fire happened in one of the die cast departments.

"We believe it started on the roofing material first, then spread to the ceiling, insulation," he said.

There were about 35 to 40 employees working when this happened. All got out unharmed.

"We had a process to evacuate and it was done to a t, perfectly executed. We are certainly blessed to have no one hurt," said Bull.

The plant will be closed Monday, as the investigation continues into what started the blaze.

Pace Industries specializes in die casting for appliances, automotive, construction and more. It has been in operation since the 1970s with nearly 500 employees at its Harrison location.

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