Plant Workers Back on the Job

By: Sabrina Wu
By: Sabrina Wu

A family-owned business is thanking local firefighters for putting out a fire that could have gotten out of control. It happened around 7 p.m. Tuesday night.

Flames destroyed the maintenance garage of Wisconsin Veneer and Plywood in Mattoon. Firefighters say the building was fully engulfed when they arrived, so they concentrated their efforts on keeping the blaze from spending.

"The building to the east of there is very flammable," John Zwirschitz, 30-year member of the Mattoon Fire Department said. "It's a veneer and plywood building.

"There was also some propane tanks on the north side of the building," said Zwirschitz.

"It could've been a lot worse," Chuck Adams, the plant's manager said. "We're really appreciative of our area fire departments that came in and helped us."

Nearly 70 firefighters from the fire departments of Mattoon, Norwood, Birnamwood and Bowler responded to the blaze.

The plant lost about two hours of production time, but otherwise they were able to continue producing at normal capacity.

No one was hurt during the incident. The cost of damages has not been released. However, one piece of equipment valued at $70,000 by Greg Besse, one of the company's owners, was destroyed. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

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