Western Pulp Products fire in Jacksonville under investigation

Western Pulp Products fire in Jacksonville under investigation

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The Jacksonville Fire Department was on still on the scene this morning after a fire broke out last night.

Around 10 p.m. crews were called to Western Pulp Products on Bolton St.

"It was reported that they found a glow coming from this side of the building," Jacksonville Fire Marshal Keith Fortner said.  

A glow that burned through half the night and continued to have hotspots throughout the morning.

Fortner says Friday night his crew along with other Smith County fire departments had difficulty extinguishing the blaze.

"The bells of product that they manufacture here is tightly compacted without it being lose you can't make effective penetration to extinguish the fire," Fortner said.   

Western Pulp Products makes molded fiber packaging for furniture, alcoholic beverages and planting. Fortner says the tight packaging was not the only problem they faced.
 
"There were potential hazards inside, storage of certain chemicals used in the manufacturing that also posed a couple issues in the initial knock down of the fire," Fortner said.   

Totaling more than 13 hours on scene, crews worked from 10 pm until 3 o'clock this morning to control the fire.

Afterwards they worked to maintain hot spots and remove product from storage rooms to prevent re-ignition.

"We're worried about the structural integrity of the building, so we have to take caution with anything that we move is not going to cause a failure or collapse of the facility," Fortner said.   

He says of the fire started in the storage facility burning 20-thousand square feet of the property.

Five people were inside the plant at the time of the fire, but no one was injured.

Fortner says the manufacturing department of the plant was not affected by the fire. However, with the integrity of the storage facility at stake, the rest of the facility may not be safe.

The company will have to get an engineer's approval before they can return to the building.

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