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Duct fan believed to be cause of fire at Copperweld Bimetallics plant in Fayetteville

An exhaust duct fan malfunction is believed to have been the cause of a Jan. 4 fire that forced an emergency evacuation of some 70 employees who were at the Copperweld Bimetallics, LLC, plant in Fayetteville, Tennessee.

A press release said that just two days after a roof fire halted operations, officials were able to begin re-energizing the facility. The 285,000-sq-ft plant, it said, had been de-energized as the substantial roof fire resulted in emergency procedures being enacted with the evacuation of personnel. The fire, it said, had originated with the exhaust system in the central area of the facility. The fire was brought under control within 45 minutes of the arrival of firefighters and completely extinguished in about two hours, reports said.

"We began re-energizing the plant Sunday, Jan. 6, and completed re-energizing our main power on Wednesday, Jan. 9, bringing the entire facility online in phases," said Eddie Hall, Copperweld Vice President of Human Resources. The release said that while the fire was contained to the facility's roof, the interior of the structure was impacted by smoke and water. Extensive cleanup got underway within hours of the fire and has continued around the clock, Hall said, noting that a temporary roof was also in place by Wednesday. The company has called employees in throughout the week as equipment came online, and that process will continue until all aspects of facility operations are restored.

"I would like to extend a sincere note of gratitude to everyone in the community who has offered their help and services throughout this process, and we especially wish to thank our emergency services, fire and rescue crews, Emergency Management Agency, and public utilities," said Hall. "As most of us were running south, it was these fine people who were running north, into harm's way to ensure everyone's safety and the security of the building.

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