OSCEOLA, Ark. — Fire destroyed a huge pallet plant in Osceola, Ark., leaving almost a dozen employees out of work and investigators trying to figure out what sparked it.
Best Pallet, Inc., is a Memphis-based company that has been a fixture in the Osceola Industrial Park for almost ten years.
Until the fire Tuesday, it had occupied a building where shoes were once made.
It’s not the first time the company has been through a devastating fire, and its Memphis owner plans to get back to business as soon as possible.
“We’ll take the lemon that’s been thrown at us and as the old saying is, we’ll turn it into lemonade,” co-owner Frank Jones said.
Jones is determined his business will rise from ashes.
The company’s 80,000 square foot Osceola plant that recycles wooden pallets went up in flames Tuesday afternoon.
“Fire is something everybody fears. Especially in your own facility,” said Jones.
The intense fire burned through Tuesday night and was still smoldering Wednesday.
It’s not known what started the fire, but Jones said the plant’s manager followed a strict routine of unplugging all electrical machinery before closing Tuesday.
“According to my manager, when he left there at four o’clock, he did disconnect everything, did a cleanup with his people before he left,” said Jones.
None of the plant’s ten workers were in the building when the fire started.
And that was good news to Shirlene Branch of Blytheville, Ark.
“And I was kind of concerned about the people that work here cause I got two sons that work here. And also I know they boss that work here,” said Branch.
Best Pallet has been in the Osceola Industrial Park since for about eight years.
It moved to the industrial park after a fire destroyed its first Osceola plant.
Jones is working with Osceola city leaders to find another location, get his employees back to work, and start filling orders.
“All of our customers can rest assured that they’ll be taken care of timely and get the quality that they always deserve,” said Jones.
Damage estimates from Tuesday’s fire are out at half a million dollars.