Glass leak disrupts Guardian plant

2012-01-30T19:23:00Z 2012-01-30T21:49:50Z Glass leak disrupts Guardian plantDeirdre Cox Baker The Quad-City Times
January 30, 2012 7:23 pm  • 

A glass leak at Guardian Industries’ float glass plant in DeWitt, Iowa, was reported about 1 p.m. Monday and attracted help from DeWitt emergency responders as well as others in the Clinton County area.

“We are a plant that makes glass. We were in the process of doing routine maintenance when a small leak happened. We asked the DeWitt Fire Department for assistance,” spokesman William Rice said Monday night. 

The incident will have an effect on production.

“It might take us a couple of days to get that line back into production, but we do have other production processes in the plant that were unaffected,” said Rice, human resources manager for the company.

Rice said there was concern for the health of the firefighters who responded to the leak because of the intense heat in the furnace area of the manufacturing plant, which is 2,850 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also assisting were Genesis Medical Center-DeWitt, the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross’ Gateway Area Chapter in Clinton. Towns that sent emergency responders included: Charlotte, Grand Mound, Long Grove and Low Moor.

The Genesis response team was quick to arrive at the site after the firefighters to make sure the emergency responders did not overheat or could be treated if any injuries occurred, Rice said. No injuries were reported at the scene, he added.

Red Cross volunteers contributed “mass care, including pizzas, sandwiches water, coffee, hot chocolate and other refreshments,” according to Amber Wood, executive director. Wood said McDonald’s and Casey’s General Store were among the companies that donated supplies to provide relief. The Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle arrived at the site about 6 p.m. to distribute dinner-time food and other items, she added.

This type of incident is fairly unusual, Rice said, adding that the manufacturing plant has a good safety record. He had no estimate of the damage.

Guardian Industries opened in DeWitt in May 1996 at a cost of $110 million, according to Quad-City Times archives. A $40 million expansion was completed in 2008.

Monday’s incident occurred in what Rice called the “hot end” of the plant, where temperatures reach 2,850 degrees.

That side of the facility melts cullet, sand, limestone, soda ash and other ingredients into glass. Guardian’s glass in 1996 was reported to be 20 percent cullet — or recycled flat glass.

The glass floats out of the furnace over a vat of molten tin. The tin bath, about the length of a football field, is monitored by cameras and computers. The glass enters the bath at about 1,900 degrees and leaves at 1,100 degrees. From there, it moves on rollers, slowly cooled by blowing air. It glides under the inspection booth, where workers check for flaws and mark the defects with a white wax pencil. These are later corrected.

The factory includes air-conditioned computer monitoring rooms to give workers a break from the heat, the Times reported in 1996.


Previous version:

A glass leak at Guardian Industries' plant in DeWitt, Iowa, was reported about 1 p.m. Monday and attracted help from DeWitt emergency responders as well as others in Clinton County.

"We are a plant that makes glass. We were in the process of doing routine maintenance when a small leak happened. We asked the DeWitt Fire Department for assistance," spokesman William Rice said.

Rice, human resources manager for the company, said there was concern for the health of the firefighters who responded to the leak because of the intense heat in the furnace area of the manufacturing plant.

Also assisting were Genesis Medical Center-DeWitt, the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross' Gateway Area Chapter in Clinton.

The Genesis response team was quick to arrive at the site after the firefighters to make sure the emergency responders did not overheat or could be treated if any injuries occurred, Rice said. No injuries were reported at the scene, he added.

Red Cross volunteers contributed "mass care, including pizzas, water, coffee, hot chocolate and other refreshments," according to Amber Wood, executive director. Wood said McDonald's and Casey General Store were among the companies that donated supplies to provide relief. The Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle arrived at the site about 6 p.m., she added.

This type of incident is fairly unusual, Rice said, adding that the manufacturing plant has a good safety record. He had no estimate of the damage.

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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