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Webb recovers from fire at plant

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By Shaina Stockton, Staff

Days after a press machine caught fire at the Webb Furniture particleboard plant in Galax, plant manager Junior Frazier reports that things are almost back to normal at the facility.
“The biggest part of the plant didn’t lose any time. There was only a slight halt in production,” he told The Gazette on Thursday, two days after the fire. “All electrical repairs have been made, and a company from Roanoke is working on hydraulics repairs today [Thursday].”

Frazier said that the company hopes to be back in full production by the middle of next week.
The fire, which sparked at about 12:30 a.m. last Wednesday, damaged hoses to a 300-gallon tank with hydraulic fluid about 12 or 15 feet above the machine that caught fire, according to a Galax Fire Chief David Hankley.
The slick hydraulic liquid covered the floor, making a difficult time for firefighters and causing one firefighter to fall and crack his elbow.  
Hankley confirmed that no other injuries were reported, and all employees were safely evacuated that night.
The fire reportedly damaged some of the plant’s insulation, but Hankley doubted that any of the plant’s structure was damaged.
No cause has been determined yet for how the fire started.
Frazier explained that the plant is made up of two sections, production and finishing. ‘The finishing end is where our major labor force is, and the production line is about a third of the labor force,” he said.
To keep production line employees from missing work, Frazier said they have been assigned to help with cleaning and assisting with maintenance.
A full estimate of the damage was not available on Thursday.