Fire gutted the inside of an Orangeburg industry on Monday morning
When firefighters arrived at Labon Technical Fiber, it was “bellowing flames and fire,” Orangeburg Department of Public Safety Lt. R. Hill said.
ODPS firefighters arrived at the plant at 122 Industrial Boulevard at 6:41 a.m.
No one was inside the building when the fire erupted, ODPS Lt. Col. Ed Conner said.
One of the ODPS firefighters in the second group to attack the blaze was taken to the Regional Medical Center with symptoms of heat exhaustion, Conner said.
“We sent him for precautionary reasons and to get checked out,” Conner added.
Hill said the firefighter is “doing better, they’re giving him some IVs and getting him back up to par.”
Conner said, “When the first units arrived, the building was unoccupied and they had extreme difficulties making entry into it.”
“It was apparent that the building fire started about 30 to 45 minutes prior to the first units arriving,” he added.
Hill said the small industrial plant makes Kevlar-like material.
“There are cotton bales in there that they weave into the Kevlar,” Hill said. “All of that is lined up and down the walls and burning.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Multiple fire departments responded to the scene, including Bowman, Canaan, Eutawville, Four Holes, Jamison and West Middle.
Orangeburg County Fire Services and the Orangeburg County Office of Emergency Services also assisted at the scene.
Labon, a China-based textile manufacturer, purchased the 15,700-square foot building on Industrial Boulevard in December 2016.
The plant became operational in the first quarter of 2017.
When the company announced it was coming to Orangeburg County in December 2016, it said it expected to bring $3.1 million in capital investment and lead to the creation of 23 new jobs.
Labon specializes in the research, development and manufacturing of technical fibers and textiles for use in several applications such as sealing, friction, hand protection and flame-retardant products.
At the Orangeburg site, the plant uses raw materials to produce fibers.
A spokesman for Labon could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Orangeburg’s Labon plant is the only U.S. location of the China-based company.