A previous fatal fire left smoldering has led to a third blaze for an Arkansas-based recycling company in two weeks.
The first fire at Environmental Recycling Technologies’ (AERT) Springdale, Arkansas plant occurred on July 17, 2013, when a silo exploded from a pressure build-up. The fire killed one unidentified employee and led to burn-related injuries for two others.
The company, which creates composite wood using recycled plastic and fine sawdust, is set to disassemble the silo to further investigate the fire incidents.
The second fire occurred July 25, 2013 at the company’s Lowell facility. There were no reported injuries, but firefighters were called back to the scene later that day to re-extinguish the blaze.
"Our greatest sympathy is with the family and friends of the employee who lost his life, and with those who sustained injuries," said Tim Morrison, AERT's president, in a statement to media. "We are providing support to families and associates to help them through this very difficult time."
AERT’s chairman and CEO, Joe Brooks, addressed the media on July 26, 2013. He said that fires can be common at plants, especially in hot summer heat, but deaths are rare, and this worker’s death marks the first in the company’s 25-year history.
“We have been doing this for 25 years, and unfortunately there is nothing good to say about what happened out there. But 25 years, and you have a fatality,” Brooks said. “Only one. It’s bad. Well, one is too many, but it’s a bad deal.”