Cooper Tire back to normal after fire

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A fire Wednesday morning at Cooper Tire amp& Rubber Co.’s plant led to a temporary evacuation and minor damage to an area of the facility.
But Pat Jodon, the plant’s manager, said Thursday morning production had resumed at the 1,200-employee plant.
The small fire happened early Wednesday, around 3 a.m., in the roof of its curing department.
A large motor on a compressor in the boiler area “went to ground,” Jodon said. The motor, built elsewhere, suffered a catastrophic failure.
Jodon said some arcing occurred, and sparks likely ignited some residual dust in an exhaust fan in the curing department.
Arcing is when electricity flows through the air, from one conductor to another. Arcing can produce flashes and flames.
In the case at Cooper Tire, some lit particles in the exhaust fans drifted into the intake fans, sparking a fire in the ceiling.
The plant’s sprinkler systems activated, and Tupelo Fire Department units also responded to the fire.
Jodon said “everyone was safe” as company safety procedures were followed and employees were evacuated from the plant.
“The No. 1 priority is always the safety of our employees,” Jodon said.
The curing department area received roof damage and water damage, but Jodon said the plant is “back in full production.”
dennis.seid@journalinc.com