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All Muskogee Georgia-Pacific Workers Can Return To Work After Fire

MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma (From news reports) -- A sigh of relief from hundreds of Georgia Pacific workers tonight after learning they will be back to their normal shifts Monday. This, as we are getting a closer look at the damage from Monday night's explosion.

Employees will be headed back to work in a few days, but a spokesman for Georgia Pacific says some employees who were scheduled to work Tuesday and Wednesday, when the plant was closed, will not be getting pay.

The company says the employees can use their personal or vacation days in exchange if they want to get paid for those days.

Debris is still hanging from the exposed floors of this Georgia Pacific building tonight. Some of the walls holding up building 27 are blackened and peeling back.

"You can rebuild buildings and machines, people are you know, you can't replace," said Georgia Pacific Spokesperson Tom Strother, "We've identified the areas where we need to block off and we need to avoid as everything continues on but the vast majority of our operation is really unaffected by the fire."

While professionals try and figure out how to rebuild the damaged areas, Georgia Pacific management is working on getting all their employees back to work.

"I know a lot of our folks have been worried about what next steps are going to be," said Strother, "Long term strategy, we are still working on that but in the short term we are going to be able to bring everybody back on Monday and that is good news."

The news is a sigh of relief for District 1 Muskogee County Commissioner Ken Doke.

"When you have the concerns that maybe 800 employees plus contractors could be displaced I mean that is a really scary thought," said Doke, "The fact that Georgia Pacific stepped up the way they did really says a lot about that company."

The company says the men and women who worked in the damaged areas will be assigned other jobs within the company for the same pay. Everyone else, will be able to get back to their regularly scheduled shifts, next week.

"It's a good day for Georgia Pacific, a good day for our community, a good day for our employees." said Strother.

Officials with Georgia Pacific and OSHA are investigating the cause of this explosion.

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