Tuesday, October 26, 1999

10 departments battle blaze

Stearns plant catches fire

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOCKLAND — A three-alarm fire at the Stearns Technical Textiles Co. kept firefighters from at least 10 fire departments busy for more than three hours on Monday.

        No one was hurt and investigators were still searching for a cause of the blaze, which was confined to the second and third floors of a building on Shepherd Avenue near the intersection with Wyoming Avenue.

        Cincinnati Assistant Fire Chief David Hill said the fire appeared to have started in an industrial oven on the second floor and spread to the third floor of Building 35 at the plant.

        By 3:30 p.m. Monday, fire investigators from the Hamil ton County Special County Arson Team arrived to find the cause of the fire. Lockland Fire Lt. Doug Wehmeyer said that was routine.

        The fire began about noon and did not pose any danger to nearby businesses along Wyoming Avenue, said Assis tant Chief Hill. He said there was heavy fire on the second floor when firefighters arrived.

        About 30 workers were evacuated from the building.

        The company employs about 170 people between the Lockland offices and plant.

        The company name was changed from Stearns & Foster Co. in the mid-1980s. It formerly manufactured mattresses but now makes non-woven textiles.

Plant won't close
        It has been around for 153 years, according to Vickie Paullus, an administrative assistant at the plant.


        Ms. Paullus had no damage estimate yet, but said the plant will not close.

        Lockland Lt. Wehmeyer said that machines used as heaters for cotton were on fire. Smoke escaped from windows on the plant and from one of three walkways that cross over Shepherd Avenue as firefighters worked.

        In addition to Lockland and Cincinnati, o fire companies from Woodlawn, Arlington Heights, Reading, Evendale, Wyoming, Lincoln Heights, Springdale and Sharonville also responded.


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