Small fire hits GM plant

LORDSTOWN – Operations have returned to normal at the General Motors Lordstown Complex following a small fire in the chassis department just before 9 p.m. Friday, plant officials said Saturday.

The early investigation reveals that the fire started as a result of welding work performed by contractors. No damage estimates were immediately released.

Four people on site were taken to local hospitals. Three were treated and released and one remained hospitalized for observation. Their names were not released.

GM Lordstown plant spokesman Tom Mock told the Tribune Chronicle Saturday that production at Lordstown remains scheduled for all three shifts beginning Monday, with the third shift reporting at regularly scheduled times tonight.

Production has been idled for the last three weeks due to a planned Christmas break and an additional week of downtime in order to adjust inventory levels of the Chevrolet Cruze. There were only a few workers doing maintenance work inside the plant at the time of the fire.

”The team did a great job with the response, getting the fire knocked down quickly. Minimal damage was done to the plant,” Mock told WYTV 33 News.

A Lordstown police dispatcher said firefighters were on the scene for about two hours.

The last reported fire at the plant, Dec. 1, 2011, also occurred during a shutdown period.

In that case, the small fire started in a nonproduction area of the plant and forced the evacuation of several outside contractors and other workers.

Mock said at the time that 200 to 300 outside contractors, hourly and salaried employees doing maintenance jobs during the shutdown were permitted to re-enter after about 45 minutes.