Small roof fire forces evacuation of 270 employees at Timken Aerospace ballbearing plant
Fire was quickly knocked down
LEBANON, NH - Just hours before a United State's senator was due to take a factory tour, a small fire broke out in the roof of the sprawling Timken plant just off Exit 19 forcing the evacuation of the entire facility.
No one was hurt, the situation was brought rapidly under control and damage was minimal, explained plant manager Todd Laquerre.
"We had an exhaust stack that overheated above a heat/treat furnace and some wood next to the stack where it goes up through the roof caught on fire so we pulled the suppression system and the fire alarm," Laquerre said, adding that the bulk of the fire was knocked down "in five seconds."
The fire broke out in the roof near the rear of the large industrial plant
Employees of the plant, who were getting set to welcome Senator Maggie Hassan (D - NH) later in the afternoon, spent an hour in the parking lot while firefighters from Lebanon, Hanover and Hartford pulled apart and overhauled the roof area to make sure it was completely out.
Timken employees waited patiently outside for an hour and listened to the very loud beeping of the plant's fire alarm
Lebanon Fire Chief Chris Christopoulos said the first alarm incident was declared under control 28 minutes after the initial alarm was sounded and noted that plant employees helped firefighters secure the propane-fueled furnace unit, which is used in the ballbearing manufacturing process.
Timken, a global multibillion dollar company, has nearly 30,000 employees in factories around the world and is known for making the bearing systems used in the landing gear wheels of all kinds of aircraft.
Firefighters dig into the roof structure (Roof photos courtesy Lebanon Fire Department)
"The cause of the fire was determined to be a malfunctioning vent pipe that allowed heat to transfer and smolder the wooden roof deck over time," the fire department reported
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