Crews contain Palmer fire

12/4/2012

Officials investigate fire at tank manufacturing plant.

Officials investigate fire at tank manufacturing plant.

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

Garden City fire officials are investigating the cause of a fire that started Monday morning at Palmer Manufacturing and resulted in two plant employees being taken to St. Catherine Hospital for smoke inhalation.

Garden City Fire Chief Allen Shelton said the employees were in good condition at St. Catherine Hospital as of early Monday afternoon. He said the fire call came shortly after 10 a.m.

"The call came in that said we had a building that was fully involved. When we arrived on the scene, the fire was about 50 percent involved at that time. Firefighters have been involved in the fire suppression operation since they arrived on scene," Shelton said at a press conference early Monday afternoon.

Northeast winds of 31 mph, gusting up to 41 mph, made the fire more difficult to contain.

"The wind was a factor, as far as firefighter operations," Shelton said.

The building that sustained the most damage, and where it is believed that the fire started, was used for fiber glass tank construction.

Shelton said that firefighters were able to get the fire under control at about 1:30 p.m.

Two fire fighting units from Holcomb assisted the GCFD.

"Since they've been out there, they had hot spots in the building they worked on to put those out," Shelton said of the fire fighting efforts. "The fire department, along with the state fire marshall's office, is doing the investigation right now to determine the cause and origin."

Shelton said that report would not be available until sometime today at the earliest.

Palmer Manufacturing, 2814 Buffalo Jones Ave., produces steel and fiberglass tanks for such things as fertilizer and oil containment. The company employs approximately 220 employees.

Steve Obrate, general manager at Palmer Manufacturing, said he doesn't anticipate the damage from the fire having a long-term impact on operations at the facility.

Specific information on the extent of damage sustained in the fire was not available Monday.

"We build tanks, and what burnt down was the fiberglass portion of the tank shop. We only took one building down out of 15 or 16 buildings we have, so we'll just move around and keep them going," he said. "We'll just move it into a different building and just keep it going. They're going to be out of work for a day or two, while we adjust, and they'll be right back to work."

The names of the two employees treated for smoke inhalation were not made available as of press time.

"Everyone is safe and sound and that's the main thing," Obrate said.

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