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Muskogee Glass Plant Damaged By Furnace Leak

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Owens-Illinois file photo. [owens-illinois] Owens-Illinois file photo. [owens-illinois]
The plant is located in the 2400 block of Old Shawnee Road. [] The plant is located in the 2400 block of Old Shawnee Road. []
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - Fire officials say a leak at the Owens-Illinois glass plant in Muskogee early Thursday caused extensive damage and requiring more than two hours of emergency response. It could add up to more than $2 million.

Muskogee Fire Marshal Ray Daniels says the fire department got the call at 12:30 a.m. to the plant located in the 2400 block of Old Shawnee Road.

Owens Illinois spokesperson Beth Peery Company said one of the furnaces “that we use to melt the raw ingredients for glass” experienced a leak. She says the plant was evacuated safely.

Peery says the company is “currently evaluating the extent of the damage and the expected impact on production, but do not have any estimates at this time. Until we have a complete picture of the impact, we will not make decisions about the process for restarting the affected machines.”

She added one of two furnaces at the plant was scheduled to be down for maintenance soon “as part of a multi-million dollar investment O-I is making in the plant, and we plan to continue on that path.”

When the container leaked, the molten material flowed into another containment area in the basement, which it is designed to do.But then, firefighters say a containment wall in the basement ruptured.

The temperature of the molten material is more than two thousand degrees, so firefighters had to out a tremendous amount of water in it. You could compare the molten flow to lava, incredibly hot, but slow moving.

Peery says the Muskogee plant employs just over 200 workers. She says their Muskogee plant remains an important part of Owens-Illinois’ North American manufacturing network.

Owens-Illinois said right now they're unable to resume production, but plan to as soon as possible.

Some employees are working at the plant to help with cleanup. Owens-Illinois said it is working now to go over agreements with its unions that would address their employment status during an unexpected shutdown.

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