Fire damages Ry Marc facility; cause under investigation

By Thomas Wilson

   A plastics facility located in the Cherokee Industrial Park was damaged by fire early Thursday morning, according to Elizabethton fire officials.
   Elizabethton Fire Chief Mike Shouse said the department received the call at approximately 4:42 a.m. Thursday when two employees at the facility discovered the fire.
   "The fire was located in the southwest corner of the structure," said Shouse. "It was located in a finished-product storage area which contained a large amount of cardboard boxes and plastic flower bases."
   He said the employees attempted to extinguish the blaze before calling 911. No employees or firefighters were injured in the fire, he said.
   Jody Soltesiz -- son of the plant's owner Joe Soltesiz -- said he received a call about the fire around 5:30 a.m. He said the plant ran three shifts of workers at the injection molding facility.
   Ry Marc uses dyes for use in plastic products. Firefighters had exhumed the burned debris from the building.
   An investigator with the state fire marshal's office was on the scene Thursday investigating the cause of the fire, said Barry Carrier, EFD fire marshal.
   The plant had approximately 15 employees, according to the owner's son, Jody Soltesiz. Two employees were at the facility when the fire occurred.
   "We should be able to operate as soon as they let us back in, that should be tomorrow," said Soltesiz.
   The incident is the second fire at an industrial site in the city within the past 10 days.
   A fire at the Snap-On Tools manufacturing plant on Highway 19E sent workers scrambling and resulted in one employee suffering minor smoke inhalation. The plant resumed operations the following day.
   An investigation into the cause of the Ry Marc fire is ongoing.