and Floyd Ingram
Special to the Chickasaw Journal
OKOLONA – A warehouse fire Monday night will put a small damper on production at one of United Furniture’s Okolona locations this week.
Around 4 p.m. Monday, firefighters responded to the Warren Street location after an employee found what seemed to be a small electrical fire and called the fire department
Firefighters responded to the scene and found the building full of smoke and the sprinklers activated.
“It was in the upholstery section and may have been started by a fan,” said Okolona Fire Chief Terry Tucker. “It took us about an hour to get it out.”
Tucker said the foam and fabric used in upholstered furniture quickly wicks water away, and prompted firefighters to drench the fire to put it out.
“The smoke was noxious and we had one firefighter who got a foot hurt,” said Tucker. “The sprinkler system did it’s job and we got it out as quickly as we could. I was pleased with our response.”
Tucker said fire crews from Amory, Cedar Creek, Houston, Okolona, Prairie, Sherman, Southeast Chickasaw, South Lee, Shannon, Van Vleet, Wren and Okolona responded.
“We had people at the warehouse and there were power issues, so a guard went to check and found smoke,” said Chief Financial Officer Doug Hanby.
The warehouse was the smaller of the company’s two Okolona locations, where employees produced upholstery. The employees have been relocated to other United Furniture locations while the damage to the building is assessed.
Hanby said he expects they will be set back a day or two but is hopeful the building will be up and running by the end of the week.
“Fortunately nobody was hurt, the sprinklers maintained the fire and the fire department had it taken care of,” Hanby said. “The building appears to be structurally sound.”
United Furniture was established in 1984 and has a 250,000-square-foot facility on the southeast side of Okolona. They are one of Chickasaw County’s major employers with more than 800 workers.