Estimated $30,000 damage reported at D&K Coatings
The Janesville Fire Department estimated $30,000 in damages to the building at 1400 Venture Drive on the city's south side, and a $6,000 loss to its contents.
No one was injured.
The fire started when a product was being transferred from one barrel to another, with one of the barrels not properly grounded, said Janesville Fire Department shift commander Scott Morovits.
Morovits said static electricity probably started the fire. An employee tried putting it out with several extinguishers before the general manager intervened, ordering an evacuation and activating the plant's carbon dioxide fire-suppression system, Morovits said.
The system automatically closes doors to isolate the fire, but a semitrailer parked next to the building caught fire before the system was activated.
In hindsight, it would have been better to activate the suppression system right away, Morovits said.
The plant's water-sprinkler system also was activated, and the fire department pumped water into it, Morovits said.
Some solvents ran off with the water, but a code-required dyke held the mixture, as it was designed to do.
"So all the safety systems that the code requires anybody to put in place all worked the way they were designed to work," Morovits said.
D&K manufactures laminates and adhesives. Its website describes its Janesville plant as "our pressure sensitive manufacturer and custom coating and converting facility."
Company officials could not be reached for comment.
Morovits said he was told none of the materials were toxic, but he said some were volatile.
The factory operates two shifts daily, according to a fire department report. The downtime will cost an estimated $1,200 an hour.
Morovits guessed there would be no production today.
Firefighters were called at 10:16 a.m. Monday. The building's fire-suppression system kept the fire in check until firefighters arrived and finished the job, Morovits said.
Firefighters found black smoke coming from the building. The fire could be smelled as far away as downtown Janesville.
Firefighters were on scene until 1 p.m.
Janesville received mutual aid on scene and to cover other calls from the Milton, Beloit, town of Beloit, town of Turtle and Edgerton fire departments.