North Sails fire contained quickly

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Updated: 1/14/2014 1:15 pm
MINDEN, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- Fire investigators in Minden are giving credit to a local company. They say an early morning fire at the North Sails manufacturing plant could have been devastating.

But the company's employees did everything right, and fire officials also said the company had the right safety procedures in place. Despite the fire, crews were hard at work on Monday, making the company's trademark sails that are coveted in the sailing world.

North Sails are used in the America's Cup race and are manufactured at the facility in Minden where the fire broke out. The sails are a high-tech mixture, made of carbon, a type of kevlar, and a super strong polyester, which are all glued together through a proprietary process.

The sails are known internationally for their strength and for giving boats incredible speed. But the process and chemicals that make those sails, are very flammable. Officials are calling it a "flash fire" that happened in a piece of manufacturing equipment.

East Fork Fire District Captain Terry Taylor said Monday morning's fire was rare. "It was rare in the sense that everything North Sails does is cutting edge technology, so it's slightly higher risk than a normal manufacturing operation, but with proper safety procedures in place, we had a good outcome."

The seven people inside the facility escaped without harm and fire officials put out the flames within minutes. Still, the fire damaged a key piece of equipment, resulting in about $250,000 in damages, during the company's busiest time of the year.
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