Monday Fire Damages Crothersville Manufacturing Plant

A dramatic fire that could have had devastating consequences to a Crothersville manufacture turned out to be a lot of smoke and noise due to quick action by the Crothersville-Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department.
Around 11:30 a.m. Monday firefighters were called to Versatech where are fire was reported on North Kovener Street. When firefighters arrived heavy, thick smoke plumed skyward.
The fire began as an electrical short at the former Nine West —U.S. Shoe plant on the town’s west side.
“I saw my lights flicker and then heard popping noise,” said neighbor Lenvel “Butch” Robinson. Other neighbors expressed similar observations.
Sparks and brilliant light were seen where high voltage lines formerly used by the shoe manufacturer entered on the east side of the 1940’s era block building.
The electrical arcing caught the plant’s roof on fire. Smoke filled much of the building.
Versatech manufactures cable connectors for electronic devices and employs about 225 workers on two shifts.
The area of the electrical short was used by Versatech for storage and warehousing manufacturing equipment. Some smoke got into the manufacturing area. However, all workers had previously been evacuated as a precaution.
“No one was injured and we are assessing damage and what our next action will be,” said Vaughn Isenhower, maintenance supervisor at the plant.
The first shift workers were sent home early Monday, he said. “But what smoke was in the manufacturing area seems to be clearing and we hope to continue with our late shift tonight,” he said Monday afternoon.
Isenhower said that the high voltage lines were not used by Versatech. “They were a left over from when the old shoe factory was here. All we use electric for is for lights,” he said.
Isenhower said no manufacturing equipment in use or in storage appears to have suffered damage. Some corrugated shipping containers did receive smoke damage and will have to be replaced, he said.
No monetary loss to the building, owned by Grover Stacy of Austin, was available by press deadline.
Jennings Township VFD and Jackson-Washington VFD assisted the local fire department.