46 people displaced following fire in Kennett - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

46 people displaced following fire in Kennett

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

KENNETT, MO (KAIT) –Monday the Cotton Boll Sheltered Workshop in Kennett caught fire.  The workshop is a program designed for folks who are handicapped that allows them to work.  The primary work that is done by employees is collecting recyclables, sorting them and baling them to be sold.

"Our balers, our shredders are a total loss," said Nancy Nichols, Director of the Cotton Boll Sheltered Workshop. 

When the fire started on Monday, everyone got out safely.  Nichols said two of her staff members tried to use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire.

"It was a fast moving fire because of the fire load.  They do recycling and a lot of those products were not only processed they were also stored back in there," said acting Kennett Fire Chief David Horton.

Already bundled cardboard had to be pulled out of the building by crews to prevent it from further fueling the fire.  Tuesday they started cleaning it all up.

"You hate to see it for the community and for the individuals," said Horton.

On Tuesday employees were out to assess the damage.

"A lot of people have come out here.  If they just look at the building they know it's bad," said Nichols.

Meanwhile, Nichols said they will get back to work.

"We have two crews that go out and clean.  We clean the BALES building and the county annex," said Nichols.

The building is more than just a place where people would come and work, it's a place where the employees feel a sense of accomplishment when other wise, many of them wouldn't be able to work at all.

"I might have one or two that might possibly could find something, whether they'd be able to keep it or not, I don't know," said Nichols.

The fire is still under investigation.  Horton said the state fire marshall has been called in to help.

Right now they are not accepting any recyclables.  Nichols said when they do get in a new building or tear the burned one down and build a new one they will start accepting things again.  She said if things are brought out to them they will be forced to haul them off. 

If you would like more information you can contact Nancy Nichols at 573-344-5619.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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