Fire Guts WI Packaging Firm

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 @ 05:07 PM gHale


Fire investigators were working to determine the cause of a fire that broke out Friday afternoon at Packaging Corp of America in Burlington, WI.

Firefighters got the call at 12:30 p.m. with a report of smoke coming from beneath water and gas pipes in the plant.

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The first crew that arrived helped evacuate employees from the commercial building, fire officials said. No one sustained an injury in the incident.

Multiple fire departments from three counties responded to the scene to assist.

At one point, City of Burlington firefighters went onto the roof of the plant to fight flames that had climbed up through a silo.

An employee said the fire could have started as a result of paper left on a conveyor belt during the lunch hour. Friction with other parts of the conveyor sparked the blaze, he said. But fire officials, as of early Friday evening, had not confirmed a cause.

“At this time, the origin of the fire is undetermined,” City of Burlington Fire engineer Justin Benko said Friday.

Fire crews spent nearly six hours on scene, containing the fire, Benko said, then conducted an overhaul and finally worked with plant personnel to make sure everything was safe before fire crews left.

Inside at the site of the fire, about 4 inches of standing water from sprinklers and firefighters fighting the blaze was visible.

“Everything was controlled rather quickly,” Benko said. “But then you have to get everything intact and in running order before we (leave). We stayed as a precaution.”

The PCA Burlington plant is a full-service supplier of corrugated shipping containers, high-impact graphics packaging, point-of-purchase displays and point-of-sale packaging, according to the company website.



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