By Russ and Tiña De Maris
(UPDATE Wed. a.m.) The Goshen Fire Department reports that a portable space heater started the fire at the Forest River plant in Goshen, Indiana, Monday night. A surveillance video shows that employees left the heater on when they went home. It ignited some combustibles stored nearby.
(Goshen, Indiana, March 16, 2021) As of last night, firefighters were still mopping up after a fire at a Forest River laminating plant in Goshen, Indiana. The Forest River fire broke out Monday night at the plant along Goshen’s College Avenue. Huge volumes of thick, black smoke filled the air. No employees were in the building when the fire broke out around 8:30 p.m.
Huge turnout at the Forest River fire
Nearly all of Goshen’s on-duty fire crews were called to the Forest River fire. Some off-duty personnel were also called in. Area fire companies with mutual-aid agreements filled in. These manned the city’s fire stations while the battle went on. At about 3:00 a.m. Tuesday, enough crews could return to their stations that mutual aid crews were able to go home. Crews spent more than 20 hours at the fire.
An investigation into the cause of the fire will begin once it’s safe for firefighters to enter the building. Forest River has not yet returned calls to the media regarding the number of employees affected.
It was reported that this plant manufactured laminated products for use in Forest River’s r•pod travel trailers. Because of this, chemicals and adhesives in the building were exploding. In addition, stacks of fiberglass products created a major issue in terms of thick, sight-blocking smoke. Goshen’s fire chief described the turnout as “A huge event.”
More on the Forest River fire will come as we get new information.
Forest River was founded in 1996, and is headquartered in Goshen. The company boasts 100 locations with 11,000 employees on the payroll.