Jamey Walters, Kingspan plant manager, said on Monday that Kingspan frequently does emergency preparedness training including fire drills. “We have a very strong safety culture and situations like this show how strong it is,” he said.
No one was hurt in the fire at the plant at 200 Kingspan Way off Martinsburg Pike (U.S. 11). The fire was accidental and occurred during the insulation manufacturing process, according to a news release from Lt. Adam Hounshell, a deputy fire marshal with the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Department. The first firefighters arrived at 6:18 p.m. and found smoke in the warehouse. They extinguished the fire at 6:50 p.m. and removed the burnt insulation. Some of the charred insulation could be seen outside the warehouse on Monday.
Walters said about 130 people work at the 170,000-square-foot facility and about 20 were working when the fire began. He said when the foam insulation caught fire there were “significant flames” that workers tried to put out with fire extinguishers before evacuating when they realized the magnitude of the fire. The sprinkler system then activated and is credited by the fire department for arresting the spread of the fire.
The facility originally opened as Amoco Foam Products and was later purchased by the Pactiv Corp. Kingspan bought the facility in 2014.
Walters said Sunday’s fire was the worst since Kingspan bought the property, but there were a few serious fires in 1990s and 2000s. He said fire is a risk due to the combustibility of insulation.
“Which is why we take fire prevention so seriously,” said Doug Crawford, Kingspan managing director. “It is a real risk.”
A damage estimate was unavailable on Monday. The warehouse, which opened in 1981, is valued at $9.1 million, according to county property records.