Kilgore Flares investing $40 million in Hardeman County plant

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Hardeman County company announced Tuesday it will invest $40 million in private money to expand its Toone, Tennessee plant, adding about 100 jobs.

Kilgore Flares Company, which designs and produces flares used in “aerospace and defense countermeasures,” will upgrade its plant over the next five years, according to the Tennessee Department of Economic Development.

Gov. Bill Haslam was in Toone along with state economic development officials Tuesday to announce the investment.

The first expansion phase will begin in the third quarter of 2018. Kilgore Flares anticipates the expansion will be completed in 2022.

“For decades, Chemring Group and its family of companies have been proudly supporting the war fighter,” said Michael Flowers, CEO of parent company Chemring Group. “This project will transform the facility in Toone by expanding our capacity and promoting further growth opportunities.”

The company has been in Toone since 1960 and currently employs about 280.

In 2016, Kilgore Flares was fined $8 million after being accused of selling defective flares to the U.S. Army, according to the Department of Justice.

In 2014, a worker at the plant died following an explosion, and a flash fire in 2010 burned several people.

A spokesman for the state Department of Economic and Community Development said that the company was making strides in improving working conditions and that the plant’s modernization would be a good step toward that.