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Firefighters extinguish blaze at plastics plant

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Tarboro firefighters work the scene of a fire Tuesday at General Foam Plastics Corp. in Tarboro.

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By PHIL SAYBLACK
Staff Writer

Friday, August 11, 2017

TARBORO — A fire temporarily disrupted operations Thursday at a factory in Tarboro that will soon be closing.

Tarboro firefighters responded to a report of a commercial structure fire at 4:30 at General Foam Plastics Corp. at 501 Daniel St. Capt. Thad Winstead said the fire was contained to a paint booth exhaust system in a warehouse at the rear of the business complex, adding firefighters fought the fire from the warehouse’s roof and from inside the building. 

The fire was extinguished in approximately 30 minutes of firefighters’ arrival, Winstead said. He added that because the fire was contained to the warehouse’s paint booth exhaust system and extinguished so quickly, it allowed the factory’s employees to return to work soon after the flames were put out. 

Winstead stressed the fire department’s response to the fire at the factory was not uncommon.

“We’ve responded to similar fires in years past at this factory,” Winstead said.

He added the exact cause of the fire has not been determined, stressing there was no reason to believe the fire was intentionally set. Employees at the factory declined comment on the fire Thursday afternoon, deferring all statements to company management. Management representatives were unavailable for comment.

General Foam Plastics Corp. will shut its doors by year’s end. Representatives of the Virginia-based company notified the N.C. Department of Commerce of the decision earlier this week. Layoffs will begin Oct. 15 and end Dec. 31 and affect more than 200 employees.

In 2014, General Foam Products announced an expansion, which included plans to add 100 full-time workers to the 48 employees at that time and invest $2.3 million in machinery and equipment at the local facility.

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