Fire Forces Evac at NC Boat Maker

Thursday, January 26, 2017 @ 04:01 PM gHale

Small Fire at Grady-White Boats in Greenville, NC, forced an evacuation.

Small Fire at Grady-White Boats in Greenville, NC, forced an evacuation.

A small accidental fire at Grady-White Boats on Martin Luther King Junior Highway in Greenville, NC, caused the boat manufacturing company to evacuate Monday.

The fire should not interrupt operations at the plant, said Mark Doggett, executive vice-president of Grady-White Boats.

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The fire started at 3:35 p.m. in the “small parts” section of the plant in an area about 10 feet by 15 feet, Doggett said. A composite material caught fire, which produced heavy black smoke, much like a burning tire would, Doggett said.

“Tonight we’ll probably get everything cleaned up and start up fresh tomorrow,” Doggett said Monday. “That’s the plan.”

The sprinkler system in the area went off, and Greenville Fire-Rescue with help from Staton House Fire & Rescue Department extinguished the fire within 10 to 15 minutes, said Rebecca Thurston, spokesperson for Greenville Fire-Rescue.

Initially, an employee was missing, and a search and rescue team went to look for him, but the employee ended up located a short time later and was OK. No one suffered an injury in the fire.

Doggett checked out the area after the fire and said there was black smoke in the area, but he expected that during the night, they would clean up the area and get back to regular business Tuesday morning.

Officials did not know the cause of the fire, and the fire department will conduct an investigation into the cause.

The fire was in a newer part of the building at the rear of the plant, and it happened just around shift change, so some of the employees already were out of the building and heading for their cars in the parking lot, Doggett said.

Grady-White Boats employs 290 people.

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