School supply product factory burns in Mexicali

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Newell products made at their factories.

MEXICALI, BCThe warehouse of a multi-purpose Sharpie factory in the Maran Industrial Park region of Mexicali, Baja California caught ablaze Tuesday morning and took roughly 60 hours to extinguish as municipal firefighters finally exhausted the lingering fumes late Friday.

The fire at the Newell Brands plant emitted billows of black smoke which could be seen as far out as the San Diego Mountains on Interstate-8, swirling into the atmosphere more menacingly than a typical controlled-field burning.

Prompt evacuation procedures are alleged to have spared lives as no fatalities or serious injuries have yet to be announced.

Newell Brands issued an official statement on the fire: “There has been a fire at our MexPac plant in Mexicali. We can confirm that our evacuation process worked well and there are no injuries to employees, first responders or anyone in the vicinity of the incident. In addition, we can confirm the fire was limited to our facility and did not impact the surrounding community. We don’t anticipate any disruption in supply for our peak back-to-school season. Our team is working closely with local authorities to actively manage the situation and investigate the source of the fire. We extend our sincere gratitude to the local fire department and volunteers who have assisted us during this incident. We will provide more details as they become available.”

According to Index president and Newell Brands director of Human Resources, Salvado Maese Barraza, the flow and exchange of goods and services provided by the factory was not impeded by the fire. Certain company materials proximal to the fire were damaged but nothing halted or affected the supply, demand, and circulation of products to and for the community, claimed Barraza.

“To be clear, as a result of the incident and to ensure product delivery stays on schedule, there will be some elevated levels of production in Maryville for the time being as a result. That said, this is similar to hiring that occurs on an annual basis to prepare for the peak back-to-school season; similar hiring happened last year at this time,” said Michael Sinatra, director of external communications at Newell Brands headquarters in Hoboken, N.J.

Sinatra gave no job figures and acknowledged Newell Brands is still in the early stages of determining the impact of the fire and adjustments the company will make to meet customers’ needs.

Some sources speculated a possible cause could have been triggered by the alcohol containers, used as a solvent, a necessary ingredient for the ink, which goes into the pens manufactured by the factory. However, no official cost of damage to the factory has been released, nor the initial cause of the fire.