Finkell on Anderson plant fire: "We will emerge stronger"
Commenting on the Oct. 10 fire that severely damaged Anderson's Clinton, S.C., flooring plant, company CEO Don Finkell told Floor Covering Installer "we were very fortunate, due to the heroic efforts of our employees and local firefighters, to have been able to contain the blaze to only half of the Clinton plant."
"I expect to be running the other half this Monday morning," he continued. "We had some initial problems with our phone system but by mid-morning we were doing business as usual except for the volume of calls from well wishers.
"We thought we might have to handwrite payroll checks, something we hadn't done in about 15 years, but we were able to get the power restored to the office building and print them in the normal way," he said. "The fire was so hot it melted all of the vinyl siding on the side of the office building facing the fire and cracked the glass in the windows. It melted the grills on some of the fire trucks too."
Finkell said he was grateful for all the help from volunteers and Anderson employees.
"I am still overwhelmed by the contribution of the firefighters, who are mostly volunteers in our area," he said. "Many are related to employees or worked here themselves at some time. We owe them so much."
Finkell stressed that business would not be significantly affected by the fire.
"Our goal is to have all lost equipment replaced and operating by the end of the year in an improved state-of-the-art plant, just down the street in a building we purchased earlier this year," he said. "Later we will build some new products here on this site.
"We don't believe that we will have any disruption in supply in the meantime because we have redirected production to other manufacturing units that we own here in South Carolina," he added. "We are getting excellent cooperation from state and local officials. Unfortunately, about 75 jobs will be affected on a temporary basis, but the other thousand or so employees of Anderson are still working to make our customers happy."
Finkell assured that the hardwood flooring maker will "emerge stronger" from the experience.
"Thirty hours after the fire, I am very pleased and thankful for where we are. No one was hurt. We are conducting business in a normal manner and I am confident that we will emerge stronger than before because we will have replaced our oldest, least efficient operations with more modern ones. I want to thank everyone for the prayers and well wishes. They mean a lot to us," Finkell said.