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Huntsville emergency crews respond to fire at Polaris

Multiple units are at the scene.

Posted: Feb 19, 2020 9:27 AM
Updated: Feb 23, 2020 10:28 AM

UPDATE: 

Right now, we are waiting for answers from Polaris after sparks hit dust buildup in an air filter and caused a fire. We asked Polaris when the company last cleaned the filter.

Today, WAAY 31 learned the fire also caused major delays for the company's truck drivers.

"I'm not making money sitting here," one truck driver said.

He started delivering parts to Polaris about three years ago.

He arrived in Huntsville overnight to get ahead of the rush at the Polaris truck entrance.

"This morning, I got up and there was a huge line of trucks waiting to get loaded and unloaded," the truck driver said.

We are keeping his identity hidden because the company he works for doesn’t want him talking on camera.

He is now stuck in Madison after a fire started in the weld shop at Polaris. It forced everyone inside to evacuate. Huntsville Fire and Rescue quickly put out the fire.

This isn't the first time the truck fire has seen firefighters at the Polaris plant.

"I've seen the fire department, but it's not like they delay us or stop us from unloading and loading or anything," he said.

Truck drivers told WAAY 31 while the fire was over early the evacuation caused an entire days worth of delay.

"They're not going to be unloading because they sent most of the employees home," he explained.

Truck drivers just hope it’s back to normal tomorrow.

"I just want to get a load and start rolling. I'm sitting and waiting to see if my dispatch sends me something different, so i can get out. But if they don't send me anything, i just have to wait until they start loading my trailer so i can get out of her," he said.

WAAY 31 dug deeper into the company's past and learned the company faced two violations in 2016. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration considered one of those violations as serious.

Polaris paid thousands of dollars for not having a lockout or tagout standard that protects employees from machines and equipment when in use.

Since the original publication of this story Polaris representative, Jessica Rogers, emailed WAAY31 a statement:

"Around 8:30 yesterday morning, a minor fire broke out in our Huntsville facility and all employees evacuated the building, in accordance with the site’s emergency action plan. Minor damage was contained at the ignition source, as designed, and operations resumed later that morning. We want to recognize our team who acted quickly and in accordance with our safety protocols. We would also like to thank the local fire department for their fast response. We regularly review our facility equipment, as well as follow a standard cadence of preventative maintenance as recommended by our vendors. I saw your story from yesterday. I can tell you that despite our brief halt to operations, we did not turn away delivery trucks yesterday and our team resumed unloading trailers once employees reentered the facility, which was shortly after 11am," Jessica Rogers, Polaris.

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UPDATE: Polaris tells WAAY 31 the fire started in the weld shop when sparks hit dust buildup in an air filter.

The company says it caused a lot of smoke, and there is minimal property damage. 

No one was injured, and everyone is out of the building. About 1,000 people had to evacuate.

The fire started around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday and has been extinguished.

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FROM EARLIER: 

Huntsville Fire and Rescue says five units are at the scene of a fire Wednesday morning at Polaris on Greenbrier Parkway.

The public is urged to avoid this area.

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