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Fire at Pace Industries in Harrison, Arkansas

April 21, 2013|by: KY3 News

HARRISON, Ark. -- A fire gutted part of a large business in Harrison, Arkansas Sunday morning.  The fire inside Pace Industries, which creates aluminum die casts, created a tense challenge for firefighters.

"That metal, those types of pots, explode," said Harrison Fire Chief Marc Lowery.  "They will blow hot, molten metal all over everybody.  It's extremely dangerous."

Pace Division President Scott Conquest says the company worked with emergency responders over the years to make sure they knew where the danger spots were inside the building.

"So you had to get in there and put your water in a certain area," said Lowery.  "You couldn't just get in there and just spray water everywhere."

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According to Conquest, 31 employees were working inside the building at the time the fire began.  No one was injured.

"The most important thing is our people were safe," Conquest said. "We were able to get them all out."

A thick column of coal-black smoke rose above the north side of the city Sunday morning.  The smoke led officials to shut down the Arkansas Highway 62/65 Bypass briefly.  All of which made for an unnerving site, especially in light of the devastating business disaster in West, Texas last week.  However by noon, the fire was out and word spread that no one was hurt.

"Now that we've got the fire put out, we'll figure out our communications to our customers and figure out when we can get part of the building back up and running," said Conquest.

Pace typically operates 24 hours per day. The plant is a die casting facility that opened in Harrison in 1970.

The cause of Sunday's fire is not yet known.
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