Warehouse goes up in flames just before Christmas

WSFA 12 News archive story from 12/21/2000

Written by: Debbie Williams

BRUNDIDGE, AL. (WSFA) - One day after fire destroyed a manufacturing plant in Pike County, workers say they still can't believe it. The plant has been in the Hamilton Crossroads community since 1936. There are plans to rebuild. It's just a question of when and what happens until then.

Last night was a sleepless night for a lot employees. What had taken a life-time to build was gone in a matter of hours. "It's kind of amazement that all of this went up so fast I guess," said Ryan Dougherty, VP sales and Marketing. "Amazing that it can be here one minute and gone the next. Just amazing at what fire can do."

The fire put about 150 employees out of work for the time being. Employees like Garnell Wilcoxon. "It's a big loss to all of us." He's worked here for the last 12 years and hopes the plant will be rebuilt. "A lot of people wouldn't have a place to work if it weren't here," Wilcoxon said. "I think there is some uncertainty with some of the employees as there would be any other time of the year, maybe magnified a little bit with it happening at Christmas."

But owners say they will rebuild the 53,000 square foot plant and continue building go-karts like they have since 1968.

Carter Brothers manufactures off-road machines, go-karts and mini-monster trucks, which are hot ticket items this Christmas. The fire broke out just as the last one of the products came off the assembly line.

Plans to rebuild will start as soon as the insurance company inspects what's left of the plant and gives its okay.

Everyone made it outside of the plant unharmed. Dougherty credits routine fire drills for everyone getting away safely.

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