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Robinson Industries is bringing back employees, filling orders

Robinson Fire photo.jpg
Rick Brewer
WCMU file
The fire at Robinson Industries in the town of Coleman in Midland County was on March 31, 2022.

Two weeks after a fire destroyed part of a plastics factory in Midland County, the company has started to bring back employees and is making sales.

The fire at Robinson Industries was caused by a piece of hot, airborne plastic falling onto a heater in the plant. Employees initially put out a small fire, but another one started and was soon in the rafters.

Marketing manager Ronda Robison explained how it happened.

"You take a flat sheet of plastic, clamp it into a machine, it gets heated up, and then once it's really hot a machine tool raises up into it and all the air is drawn out of it. So sometimes the plastic can hit the heater," said Robinson.

Employees did what they were trained to do and used the fire extinguishers on hand and evacuated the building once the fire was out of control.

Most of the campus was a total loss, but no one was injured in the fire. There were some buildings on the Curtis campus that were untouched or only partially damaged.

The company has a second campus not far from the Curtis location and has shifted some of its production there.

During this transitional period, the company has been pulling tools out of the rubble for repairs and is using machines in one of the untouched buildings to help get production of products up and running.

"And now another thing that we've been doing besides retrieving our own equipment and fixing it is several competitors reached out to us and offered machine time," said Robinson.

Robinson Industries makes plastic pallets often utilized in the automotive industry.

Robinson says customers have been patient and the company has been filing orders.

"All of our customers are working with us, giving us a little bit of time. And we're doing everything we can to get them get them filled. We will definitely rebuild a building on the same site. And it should be bigger and better," said Robinson.

Of the company's 200 employees, 60 have filed for unemployment.

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