Cocoa Plant Blaze Forces Shut Down

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 @ 04:04 PM gHale

A major cocoa powder manufacturing facility in Weymouth, MA, is shut down after a fire swept through a second-floor compressor room damaging equipment, authorities said.

Firefighters got the call to go to Brady Enterprises just after 5:30 p.m. on March 25 and they had to fight heavy smoke and flames leaping from the roof line of the factory, said Fire Chief Keith Stark.

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Firefighters knocked down the flames within two hours, but Stark said it was too soon to say how much the fire had cost the business.

“It’s tough to say because I don’t know if it affected product down below. If it did, the damages could be in excess of $1 million,” he said.

The facility would be closed for about a week for restoration, cleaning and maintenance, said President and Chief Executive Chuck Kozubal.

The company employs 300 people nationwide, about 240 of which work at the Finnell Drive facility and another building at 167 Moore Road in Weymouth. Kozubal said full-time workers affected by the temporary closure would be transferred to the Moore Road location until they are back up and running.

“We will be helping them assess damage and repairs,” Stark said.

The fire was likely fueled by the fine dust created during the cocoa powder manufacturing process, Stark said. He added, though, the exact cause of what ignited the compressor was still under investigation.

The fire reached two alarms, Stark said. Braintree and Hingham fire departments assisted on the scene.

There was a maintenance worker inside when the fire broke out, but he was able to safely evacuate. One firefighter was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released, Stark said.



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