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A build-up of fiberglass inside an oven may have been the cause of an oven fire Monday as smoke could be seen from a distance away from Molded Fiber Glass Companies in Morganton, NC, officials said.

The oven was drying pre-molded fiberglass, said Capt. Jason Whisnant with the Morganton Department of Public Safety. The building’s sprinkler contained most of the fire to the area, but flames were visible when responders arrived around 5:30 p.m., he said.

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The plant manager declined to comment on the situation, but a worker said this incident was not the first time an oven caught on fire at the facility. He said the fire was likely caused by the build-up of fiberglass in the oven, which he said is used 24/7.

The worker said because a similar incident has happened before, no one really panicked when they began seeing black smoke. There was enough smoke, however, to be seen from Reep Road.  

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Gas in the facility had been shut off as of 6 p.m., and 13 public safety personnel were on hand, Whisnant said. The fire already had been extinguished by that time, and responders were working on overhaul to see if there were any additional fires inside the machine, he said.

Burke County EMS also responded to the scene, but there were no injuries in the incident. Whisnant said he is not sure how many employees were inside the building at the time of the fire. 

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