Alcoa, Inc., halts hot mill to assess damage

Alcoa, Inc., has idled the hot mill at its North Plant as it awaits an assessment of damage caused by a fire there Saturday, Sept. 18, but is otherwise continuing production, said company spokeswoman Christy Newman.

The blaze broke out about 1:30 p.m. Saturday, drawing responders from Alcoa, Maryville and Blount County Fire Departments with Friendsville Fire Volunteer Fire Department personnel responding to cover Alcoa Fire Department calls. No injuries were reported. Newman said Monday that the hot mill has been shut down while a company team assesses the damage but all other parts of the plant, in which ingots are milled into sheet for aluminum cans, still are in production. No one has been put out of work because of the fire, she said. Some employees who normally work in the mill have been reassigned until it is back in operation.

While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Newman said the blaze appeared to involve fluid from hydraulic lines. Besides equipment, the fire also damaged the roof of the plant, she said. Newman could not predict what effect the fire would have on production or how long it would be before the hot mill is back in operation.

“It’s hopeful that in the next little bit we will have a time frame after we hear from our assessment, repair and recovery team,” she said.

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