HAMPTON — Officials are investigating what caused a piece of machinery to catch fire at Foss Performance Materials Tuesday night.
Fire Chief Jameson Ayotte said they were called to the scene at 11 Merrill Industrial Drive just after 9 p.m. Employees working the third shift were safely evacuated and nobody from the company was injured in the blaze.
“This is something they routinely practice, and they handled it very professionally,” Ayotte said.
Ayotte said fire departments from 18 communities responded to the scene. Part of the issue was the size of the building, Ayotte explained.
In an average house fire, crews need about 150 feet of hose to make an impact. 700 feet of hose was required to battle the fire inside the plant, Ayotte said.
Ayotte said the cold caused water used to extinguish the fire to freeze and create icy conditions. One firefighter sustained a minor injury as a result.
The two-alarm blaze was extinguished around 11 p.m.
On Wednesday afternoon, Foss Performance’s operations manager, Bob Champion, said they were ready to go back into full production.
Champion did not know how many employees had to be evacuated during the fire, but was grateful nobody was seriously injured.
“We know everybody was safe and accounted for, and that’s what was most important,” Champion said.
According to their website, Foss Performance Materials is one of the industry’s leading providers and pioneers in the use of nonwoven needle punch fabrics and specialty synthetic fibers.
A news release from July of 2017 says Foss employs about 420 people.