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Plant fire is held at bay by fire suppression system

Posted on by SST

An manufacturing plant located in Florence, Ala. caught fire June 19 in the early morning hours.

The Times Daily reported a fire broke out at the American Excelsior Company around 1 a.m. in the Florence-Lauderdale Industrial Park. According to Lieutenant Ryan Orrick, of the Florence Fire Department, a storage area under a canopy at the back side of the plant was on fire when firefighters arrived on the scene. He said that fire alarm system, specifically the sprinkler system, deterred the flames from spreading throughout the entire facility, despite the office area and plant sustaining water and smoke damage. Propane tanks used to fuel forklifts in the facility's warehouse exploded from the extreme heat caused by the fire.

"Approximately 25 percent of the main building has sustained damage," said Julie Schatz, a risk manager for American Excelsior. "Our other building [at 4030 Parkway Drive] sustained no direct damage. No employees were injured as a result of this fire."

Orrick noted that seven employees were present in the building at the time of the fire, but all were able to safely evacuate. 

According to the American Excelsior website, the company manufactures and distributes packaging products used for cushioning and erosion control, as well as providing a wide array of engineered wood fibers. Those same materials, along with wheat straw and coconut fibers, are integrated with plastic netting for floral design applications and erosion control. 

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