AURORA, Ontario (March 4, 2011)—Magna International Inc. is drawing from throughout its operations to bring production back on line as quickly as possible after a fire at its Howell, Mich., auto interiors parts plant.
The March 2 and 3 fire damaged about a quarter of the 187,000-square-foot plant's production area, and officials for the Aurora, Ontario-based Magna were quick to give praise to firefighters who were able to contain the blaze.
Clean-up crews and construction contractors were already on the site to get accessible areas up and running as quickly as possible, said spokeswoman Tracy Fuerst. Some parts of the building had a complete roof collapse, so the company has not been able to determine the extent of damage to machines and molds in those places.
Magna is also bringing in operations experts from throughout its holdings to check equipment and re-launch production, although the company has not set a date yet to return to work in unaffected areas.
The fire began near a spray urethane cell, although investigators have not determined what started it. The Howell plant has more than 400 workers. They have been told to not report for work until further notice.
Magna's Howell plant injection molds, paints and assembles instrument panels, door panels and other interior trim for a range of auto makers including General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group L.L.C. and Mazda Motor Co. Ltd. Some of those companies have slowed or halted production because of a parts shortage from Howell.