Citation Plant Fire Forces Evacuation

When firefighters arrived at Citation Corporation in Lufkin Wednesday morning, smoke was billowing out from the melting department of the foundry. The company uses molten iron to produce iron castings for the automotive industry.

"We had a malfunction with a ladle that delivers hot metal to one of the furnaces, and it spilled some iron. We're still assessing the damage, but it doesn't seem to be to serious at this time. We had a minor explosion as hot metal hit a water hose," explained plant manager Samuel Greene.

According to one employee, a gearbox in the ladle may have been the part that malfunctioned. Employees immediately evacuated the foundry, and fortunately, no one was injured in today's fire.

"As far as we know at this point, there are no injuries. And we're thankful for that. Right now, it's just a matter of assessing the damage and equipment repair and getting back to operation," added Greene.

By noon, employees had returned to work. Workers in the portion of the foundry that was affected by the fire spent the rest of the day repairing and cleaning up the damage the fire left behind.