Toray Plastics facility damaged by water after pipe freezes, bursts

Monday, Jan 06, 2014

The Toray Plastics America Inc. facility at 100 Belver Ave. sustained “quite a significant amount of water damage” Saturday evening after a sprinkler pipe burst on the third floor and sent water cascading to the floors below, according to North Kingstown Deputy Fire Chief Philip Aldrich.

Crews were called around 5 p.m. Saturday to the Torayfan production facility, one of the company’s two large buildings on the Belver Avenue site in the Quonset Business Park, Aldrich said.

Aldrich said the pipe likely burst because of the freezing temperatures, and water then flowed down into second-floor offices and a first-floor production location, where a shift at the plastics company was operating heavy equipment. Aldrich said fire crews advised the company to stop work because of the high voltage — 480 volts — that runs through much of the machinery.

Reached Sunday afternoon, Aldrich did not know whether the company was back up and running, although he said there was a good chance much of the facility could continue to operate because the water damage affected only one portion of the building. Aldrich had no estimate of the damages.

Toray Plastics America President and CEO Richard R. Schloesser , described the sprinkler break as “a minor issue” in an email Sunday.

The company relies on its own maintenance team and electricians, and staff responded to the situation immediately on Saturday, Aldrich said.

Toray’s North Kingstown factory sits on a 70-acre campus and employed 680 people as of August, the most recent details available. The plant operates around the clock, manufacturing polyester, polypropylene and metalized films used in a variety of products, from packaging chips to the holograms on credit cards.

Aldrich said the broken sprinkler pipe at Toray was one of a number of broken pipes requiring fire crews’ assistance during the cold weekend. It took crews about an hour, he said, to assist at Toray, which was probably the most serious incident because of its location on an upper floor.

Crews also responded to a business in the 200 Frenchtown Rd. complex, the GameStop at 52 Frenchtown Rd. and the Falvey Shipping facility at 66 White Cap Drive, Aldrich said.