Employee Working During Henryetta Building Fire 'Didn't Know What To Think'

Thursday, May 17th 2018, 6:13 pm

Employees returned went to work at the Anchor glass plant in Henryetta Thursday – one day after a fire and possible explosion.

The plant wasn’t running at full-capacity, employees, instead, returned to clean and assess the damage. Some of them that returned were there Wednesday night and made it out safely.

5/17/2018 Related Story: Employees Return To Henryetta Glass Plant After Explosion, Fire

Joe Hendrick was working in the basement of the glass plant - which has been a fixture in Henryetta since the late 1920s - when it caught fire.

"I didn't know what to think," he said. "There was just little wads of stuff on fire that started falling in the basement that normally don't fall down there. So, I knew something wasn't right."

Fire Chief David Bullard said the cause is likely an oil line that ruptured in the basement. The fire spread above, causing major damage to four of the glass mold shops.

No one was hurt.

Bullard said, given the circumstances, things could not have gone smoother and praised the company's training.

"They moved 75 people within probably five to 10 minutes to their evacuation sites," Bullard said.

He said firefighters work closely with employees to prepare for situations just like this one.

"It's a dangerous place to work to begin with. You have molten glass everywhere. You have open flames everywhere. You're working off of catwalks," Bullard said.

Now, the more than 400 employees at the plant are hoping repairs can be made soon so they can get back to business as usual.

"If that's not there then there's not a whole lot going on in this town," Hendrick said.

Anchor's corporate office said it expects some production to start back in the next day or two. It intends to restore the plant back to full capacity as soon as possible.