LOUDONVILLE -- On Jan. 2, 1947, Plant 1 of the Flxible Company was rocked by an explosion and engulfed in flames.
The nearly all-glass, 1927 expansion to Plant 1 made for frigid working conditions in the winter ... and required paint to be heated before it could be applied. An unknown employee accidentally knocked over a can of paint thinner which spilled onto one of the heat-plates for warming the paint. The result was catastrophic.
In all, the entire 1927 expansion was destroyed with the 1919 extension severely damaged. There were 55 ambulances and funeral cars as well as parts for an additional 34 cars were destroyed. The entire parts department -- and its valuable jigs -- went up in flames.
The fire was so massive nearby houses were damaged.
Fortunately, for Flxible, company policy allowed employees to join the Loudonville Fire Department and leave their stations for calls.
Therefore, half the fire department was already on hand by the time the alarm was raised ... otherwise damage may have been much more severe.
Plant 2 was already under construction when the fire erupted, so all efforts were put into finishing that plant rather than rebuilding the 1927 expansion.
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