Fire at local packaging plant causes $1 million in damage

Published: Jun. 3, 2019 at 3:39 AM CDT
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Firefighters faced a few obstacles after they responded to a fire early Monday that did $1 million damage to the Sonoco Flexible Packaging Plant in the 6500 block of Central Texas Parkway in Waco.

The fire broke out in a printing machine at around 1:45 a.m. Monday.

The 20 employees in the plant when the fire broke out were evacuated safely.

Outside the plant firefighters encountered a closed security gate that employees had to open for each arriving unit and inside they had to deal with a 25-foot ceiling in a building with few openings, created issues as they tried to clear the smoke from the fire, a fire department report says.

As a result, crews stood by for several hours to help with ventilation.

Site manager Rick Brzezinski said operations were halted until the facility was cleaned, but said he expects them to resume Monday evening.

He said plant officials are thankful that their employees and staffed followed protocol.

"We are so thankful our employees did everything they needed to do and were able to get out safely. We are also very thankful for the Waco Fire Department," Brzezinski said.

The cause of the fire appears to have been a leak in piping carrying solvent to printing machines.

Heat from the machinery or a spark evidently ignited the solvent, the report says.

The plant's fire suppression system and hand-held extinguishers were used to put out the flames, the fire department report says.