CHAMPAIGN - A fire on a line caused the evacuation of the Plastipak Packaging plant in west Champaign Thursday morning.
Eastern Prairie Fire Protection District Lt. John Bell credited sprinklers and recent training by firefighters and Plastipak employees for minimizing what could have been a more serious situation.
Bell said the company called firefighters at 9:43 a.m. for a fire on a line in the east side of the building.
“The sprinkler system had activated and had the fire under control right away,” Bell said.
Plastipak immediately evacuated about 200 employees and kept them outside a little more than an hour while firefighters used an industrial fan to vent the smoke.
“The whole building was full of smoke. That fan cleared the building within a half-hour,” he said.
Bell said just last week Plastipak employees had practiced their evacuation. And two weeks ago, firefighters had trained on the use of the fan. No one was injured.
About 13 firefighters from Eastern Prairie, Savoy and Bondville and Pro Ambulance responded to the plastic bottle manufacturing plant while Carroll firefighters stood ready to cover other calls for Eastern Prairie.
Bell said employees were allowed back in the building shortly after 11 a.m.
Firefighters know where the fire started but aren’t sure exactly why, he said, adding there was nothing suspicious about it.