CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (From news reports) -- Pixelle Specialty Solutions has laid off 80 employees assigned to a machine damaged by a late Sunday night fire at the Chilpaco mill.
No one was injured from the fire which remains under investigation, according to a statement from Pixelle.
"We are determining the root cause of the fire, in order to identify any additional preventative and safety measures," the statements says. "We are evaluating the machine to determine the scope of damage and what is needed to repair it. Our initial evaluation found more damage than anticipated."
Additional engineering evaluation is expected to take two weeks leaving the 80 employees assigned to the machine laid off. Two other larger paper machines continue to operate and employees assigned to them are not impacted.
Pixelle has confirmed the employees will be eligible for unemployment compensation, and Pixelle also has "provided temporary layoff benefits information to the employees."
"This is a challenging circumstance for the employees, and we appreciate expressions of support to the employees from the community," Pixelle's statement said.
The machine fire broke out just before 10:30 p.m. on Sunday and Chillicothe firefighters remained on scene assisting Pixelle's fire brigade until 12:20 a.m. Monday, according to the Chillicothe Fire Department report. When Chillicothe firefighters arrived, they indicated Pixelle's fire brigade already had hose lines in place.
While the fire department estimated loss of $50,000 from the fire, it would not include additional financial losses due to the machine being down or additional damages Pixelle found during continued investigation.
Pixelle spokesman Alan Ulman said Pixelle is still evaluating the overall financial impact from the fire and is serving customers from existing inventory, the two machines still operating, and its mill in Pennsylvania.