Fire destroys fiberglass plant in Elkhart

A fiberglass plant in New Paris in Elkhart County was destroyed by flames Thursday morning.

Better Way Products has three plants at their location on County Road 23.

One of the three plants was destroyed by flames.

About 100 employees worked in the plant and management says they will still be able to clock in, but just maybe at a different location.

“The fire was very intense. I got here about 2:30 am but understand that there were quite a few flames, the inside of the building is a complete loss," said Clint Decker, General Manager of Better Way Products.

“We've had up to 12 departments counted for. We brought in tankers and man power to help fight the fire," said Chief Joe Warstler of the New Paris Fire Department.

A cause has not yet been determined but there was a smaller fire reported Wednesday in the same plant. Decker says the cause of the smaller fire is providing some insight into how the fire on Thursday morning may have sparked.

Decker says the fire reported in the afternoon was caused by a spark in a dust collection.

“We don't know the cause of the later fire yet it's still under investigation but we are thinking probably a hot spot or a spark and some dust probably set it off," said Decker.

While the Fire Marshal is determining the cause of the fire, Better Way Products will continue to operate their other plants. Employees who worked inside the destroyed plant will be relocated to one of the other plants either in New Paris, Syracuse, or Bremen.

The electricity was shut off on the property but the two other plants were back in production Thursday night as they ran off a generator.
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