Welspun suffers setbacks after $1.5 million fire

Welspun suffers setbacks after $1.5 million fire

A $1.5 million fire at Welspun Tubular means it will be weeks before the company can begin rehiring to make up for more than 200 layoffs earlier this year.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Welspun Tubular is one of the state's largest employers but after a weekend fire destroyed the electrical room running all the machines used to make the oil pipes, the company is taking a few steps back.

"That area brought the power into the building and it controlled several machines," said Captain Jason Weaver with the Little Rock Fire Department.

Although, right now, production is at a stand-still the company's president says they still have enough pipes to continue shipments for weeks. What happens when they run out is anyone's guess.

Monday, Welspun President Dave Delie said "some workers could be asked to stay home for some time as the company gets back on track," but those decisions will come as repairs get underway.

Although firefighters contained the fire to a single room deep within the plant, Delie says it means all the new jobs the company plans to bring in to help with the Keystone Oil Pipeline will have to wait until they know how long repairs will take.

"With electronics today, it's just like your vehicles," said Capt. Weaver. "One problem goes wrong with your computer and the whole car shuts down."

Despite the fire, Monday it was business as usual for most of the 500 workers at the Little Rock plant.

Delie says so far just a handful of workers are affected, if any, but as crews assess and repair the damage that could change.

Repair crews are at the plant Monday and Tuesday to check out the damage to the electrical room. The company will have more answers and know what they're dealing with after those assessments.
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