Seven employees suffered minor smoke inhalation and Volkswagen suspended production for da day after a fire erupted at its Chattanooga auto assembly plant on June 13.
EMTs treated affected employees at the scene after evacuating the plant when a broke out in the factory’s body shop, the Chattanooga Fire Department reported.
A conveyor belt in a confined space caught fire. Firefighters extinguished the flames in under an hour.
Fire officials reported that building sprinklers on the line in the body shop kept the fire from spreading.
“These types of fires are extremely dangerous,” Fire Chief Phil Hyman told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Life hazard is our primary concern with so many employees working there. We rely heavily on Volkswagen's team for accountability, and they do a great job with that. Time is everything for us in these situations so having an on-site fire department is a huge help.”
Volkswagen's Fire Department needed extra manpower and hose for a reliable water supply and local fire officials were there to assist, said Chattanooga Fire Department officials.
Firefighters encountered heavy smoke, but the natural ventilation from the bay doors at the body shop allowed them to have some visibility. With flames under control, firefighters then monitored hot spots, officials said.
Ventilation fans cleared out smoke in the building and booms prevented water runoff into other areas of the structure.
Volkswagen stopped production at the affected plant for a day. Production will resume today.
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