FIRE at Oklahoma City GM plant

Sunday, July 29th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Firefighters battled a four-alarm fire at the General Motors plant Saturday afternoon.

About 80 firefighters were called to the plant when the fire broke out shortly before 2 p.m., said Oklahoma City Fire Maj. Brian Stanaland.

The fire was contained around 6:30 p.m., but firefighters remained on the scene to snuff out the last of the flames, Stanaland said.

The fire started in a basement of a two-story building once used for painting vehicles.

The more than 600 contractors and 65 General Motors personnel working at the plant were accounted for by mid-afternoon, he said.

Five people were taken to a local hospital. Ken Sampson, 37, and Crystal Garrett, 22, were treated and released. Officials said Sampson suffered smoke inhalation and Garrett had first-degree burns on her arms. Officials believe the two might have tried to fight the fire.

Three other workers, whose names were not available, also were treated for smoke inhalation and released.

No firefighters were injured.

Stanaland said the cause of the fire was being investigated but that the blaze was fueled by old paint sludge.

``Workers have been cleaning years of paint sludge out of this building,'' he said.

GM is spending $700 million to renovate the Oklahoma City plant, which used to make Chevrolet Malibus, to make extended-length versions of the Chevy TrailBlazer and the GMC Envoy and the regular-length Oldsmobile Bravada.

It is not known how the fire will affect the work at the plant, said spokeswoman Kathy Oden.

``We really don't know yet. We'll have to take some time to assess the situation,'' Oden said.