Officials believe the fire started because of a short in an exhaust fan. Four employees had been inside the building and tried unsuccessfuly to put the flames out with extinguishers. One employee was sent to the hospital with smoke inhalation.
There were no other injuries, but the building was left with major smoke damage, according to Macon-Bibb County Fire Department officials, who put the fire out within 20 minutes of arrival.
Raffield co-owner Chip Battle said the facility will be down for several weeks, and that approximately $500,000 worth of equipment was damaged.
Raffield has seven tire centers in Macon and Warner Robins and the plant, which had been open at least 25 years, was not open to the public. It retreads tires for semi-tractor trailers and services big rig trucks within an 80-mile radius, Battle said. (Tire Review/Akron)