Nearly half of Anderson Hardwood Floors’ plant in Clinton, S.C. was destroyed by fire last month. No employees were hurt in the blaze, but a firefighter was treated for shortness of breath. Company president Don Finkell said the fire, which was discovered on the evening of Oct. 10 by an employee, destroyed the veneer grading, pressing and panel sawing areas. No employees were injured.

“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,” Finkell told FCI. “I am still overwhelmed by the contribution of the firefighters, who are mostly volunteers in our area. Many are related to employees or worked here themselves at some time. We owe them so much.”

On Oct. 20, authorities arrested a 21-year-old Clinton resident in connection with the blaze, the company said. Finkell said his thoughts and prayers went out to the man’s family. He also 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, and said he felt grateful for the industry’s support.

“I want to thank everyone for the prayers and well wishes. They mean a lot to us,” Finkell said.