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Employee injured in chemical plant fire

April 12, 2012

One employee was injured after a chemical fire blazed Thursday afternoon at RPM Wood Finishes Group in Hudson.

The fire started about 3:30 p.m. in a tank in the company's paints and coatings production building, said Gordon Hyde, RPM spokesman.

The fire was contained to that area of the building, and all 250 employees working at the time were evacuated as a precaution.

With help from other departments, the Hudson Fire Department contained the blaze within 30 minutes of the initial service call.

Firefighters at all 12 Caldwell County fire departments were put on alert after the fire started, according to a news release from the county.

Hyde said the injured employee was transported to Fyre Regional Medical Center in Hickory.

Hudson Fire Capt. Tommy Courtner said no hazardous materials released into the environment during the fire. He said damage to the building mostly resulted from water used to contain the blaze.

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources investigated the blaze Thursday afternoon. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

RPM manufactures wood and industrial metal finishing coatings for furniture and cabinets.

Thursday's blaze marked the second time in less than a year that the RPM plant caught fire. Last May, fire damaged a warehouse that stored drums of chemicals. Catawba County fire departments responded to assist Caldwell County firefighters during the blaze.

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