The Morganton Department of Public Safety responded to a reported structure fire at the Molded Fiberglass plant at 213 Reep Drive on Wednesday. The call was dispatched at 9:07 am on January 2, 2019 and was the first actual fire response for the city this year. Upon arrival, responding units were met with smoke and flames coming from the roof and around one of the ovens inside the plant. All employees had evacuated after trying initially to knock down the flames with a fire extinguisher. The sprinkler system activated when the fire blew out the top of an oven used to mold fiberglass vehicle parts and ignited dust and resin collected on the building’s structural beams above. The fire spread to the ceiling and through a wall to the roof quickly. Morganton Public Safety credited the quick alerting of the fire department and the evacuation of personnel by plant management for the fact that no one was injured and property damage was confined to one section of the roof and a vent system.
Morganton fire units were on the scene for over two hours extinguishing the blaze and checking for fire extension. Burke County EMS responded to assist Morganton with any medical issues or injuries. The damage to the building was minimal and plant operations resumed as soon as the fire equipment and personnel were removed from the roof and oven room. Plant personnel told firefighters the oven and immediate area had just been thoroughly cleaned and maintenance performed over the holiday break from production operations. The cause was listed as unintentional.