Chief credits actions of Jasper Chair night watchman

From Local Sources

JASPER — A night watchman got high marks for discovering and responding to a Wednesday night fire that caused some damage to a machine at Jasper Chair Co.

The Jasper Volunteer Fire Department was called to the 534 E. Eight St. plant at 8:08 p.m.

Fire Chief Kenny Hochgesang said there had been an unknown problem with an overhead electrical-service system — it’s called the Buzz Duct system — used to bring electrical service to machines on the shop floor. The overhead electrical problem resulted in sparks being thrown onto the shop floor.

Hochgesang said the spark ignited sawdust around a CNC router, catching the machine on fire.

The night watchman, who was in another area, was alerted to a problem when an overhead electrical breaker tripped with a bang. The watchman investigated the noise, discovered flames 5 or 6 feet high and used an extinguisher to acieve an initial knockdown, according to the chief.

Hochgesang said the fire department dealt with the heavy smoke that resulted. Firefighters also did some disassembly of the affected machine to ensure there were no hot spots.

“Part of the machine was damaged because of the sawdust burning,” Hochgesang said, adding the incident could have been much worse.

“They are very, very lucky the night watchman was there and was able to identify it right away,” Hochgesang said. “It seems like he was well trained in his position.”

Four trucks and 26 firefighters were on the scene about 50 minutes.

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