Safety Program Works after Zippo Fire

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 @ 09:04 AM gHale

An employee safety program worked like clockwork after a dust collector fire broke out in the buffing unit of Zippo Manufacturing Co.’s Bradford, PA, factory last Monday night, prompting the evacuation of the facility, officials said.

Firefighters responded to initial reports of a trash can fire at the facility at 6:30 p.m., finding the fire was contained to the dust collection system.

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“The dust collector is on the exterior of the building,” said Mark Paup, president and chief executive of Zippo Manufacturing. “The reason why it originally appeared to be worse, we think, is because so much smoke entered the facility.”

Following the plant’s protocol, employees evacuated the facility during the incident. The factory was clear of smoke after about 90 minutes. After firefighters cleared areas of the plant, employees were able to reenter.

“Damage was contained to the exterior dust collector,” said Paup, explaining that suppression systems in place at the facility helped keep the flames from spreading.

Operations resumed as normal on Tuesday.

“We pride ourselves in ‘safety is number one,’ and it worked tonight,” Paup said.

Paup praised the quick response by employees, who followed protocol for evacuating the building, and the others whose job it is to respond to emergency situations like fires.

“All procedures were followed,” he said. “I’m very, very pleased that everyone is safe.”

“Obviously my first concern is to make sure it is safe before anyone goes back into that facility,” Paup said, adding safety officers made sure the fire department was “totally comfortable before anyone went back in.”

Zippo’s head of operations, safety and manufacturing were at the scene shortly after the call.

“Everyone will be back to work tomorrow,” Paup said. “Operations will be normal.”

While the dust collector was damaged, there are redundancies in place, he added.

“Damage was contained to the exterior dust collector,” he said, noting suppression systems worked exactly as they were supposed to.

“We were assisted by the prompt response of the Bradford Township Fire Department,” Paup said, adding, “they were here within minutes … so quick. They do an amazing job. It really punctuates the importance of having those guys in the community. They did a phenomenal job.”

Zippo manufacturers and sells lighters, pocket knives, money clips, and writing instruments

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