By Bonita Wilborn
According to Fort Payne Fire Chief, Ron Saferite, on Wednesday, July 4, at approximately 11:00am, the fire department received a call about a structure fire on the south end of Fort Payne. Saferite stepped out of his office to the sight of a “huge column of black smoke”.
As it turned out, the smoke was on the property of GameTime, a company that sells playground equipment, outdoor fitness products, as well as surfacing and park amenities. Upon arrival at the site of the smoke, firefighters found rubber and playground equipment was on fire, which made the fire much worse than it would have otherwise been. The plastic and rubber acted as an accelerate, much like gasoline would.
The fire in the company’s storage area continued burning for several hours, reaching heights of 200 feet before it was finally put out. After the fire was no longer a danger, the few employees that were on site used forklifts and assisted the firefighters in moving equipment to make sure all of the small fires were completely extinguished.
The initial determination, according to Chief Saferite, is that the fire appeared to have been started by the sun magnifying through some clear plastic. It caused quite a bit of equipment damage, possibly as much as millions of dollars worth. Still, the company is fortunate that no employees were injured and that the fire only affected the storage area and didn’t do any damage to the plant.
Employees have since returned to work and are no doubt diligently working to replace the lost inventory.