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Fire causes extensive damage to packaging plant

A Wednesday fire caused about $250,000 in damage to the Placon plant on Wilco Boulevard. Drew C. Wilson | Times

An arc flash fire in an electrical room caused an estimated $250,000 in damage to a Wilson packaging plant Wednesday.

Wilson Fire/Rescue Services Deputy Fire Chief Jim Campbell said firefighters were called to the Placon plant at 2450 Wilco Blvd. at 6:06 p.m.

Placon is a thermoforming company that was purchased from Sonoco Products Co. in 2021.

Campbell said the problem was in the manufacturing plant’s electrical room, which is in the facility’s main building.

No firefighters or civilians were injured, he said. 

“Wilson Fire/Rescue Services responded to a reported structure fire and possible explosion,” Campbell said. “Upon arrival, crews found smoke throughout the building and water flow from the sprinkler system activation. Crews investigated to find the plant had experienced an arc flash fire in the electrical mechanical room for the plant. There was no remaining fire as the sprinkler system had extinguished it.”

Campbell said the immediate areas were “overhauled to check for fire extension.”

All employees had evacuated and were accounted for when the first fire crews arrived at the nearly 16-acre complex, he said.

Campbell said the utilities were controlled and the building was ventilated. 

“(The) Wilson Fire/Rescue Service Community Risk Reduction Division and city of Wilson inspections division (are) working with plant personnel to bring the building back to normal status,” Campbell said. “The plant did suffer a considerable amount of damage.”

Campbell said the cause of the fire was accidental. 

The blaze caused an estimated $250,000 in damage to the property and about $20,000 in damage to its contents.

Some seven fire vehicles and 22 firefighters responded to the fire.

Firefighters were assisted by Wilson County EMS, the Wilson Police Department, Wilson Energy, the city of Wilson’s inspections staff and Wilson County Communications.