Power Equipment Moves Knoxville Shop to Tent During Fire Recovery

Wed July 02, 2008 - National Edition
Jeff Cronin




An April 1 fire forced Power Equipment’s Knoxville branch out of its shop, but the staff hasn’t missed a beat.

The blaze started when a truck battery shorted out, said Service Manager Don Ilgen. The flames eventually set off a motion detector, which soon alerted the police and fire departments to the scene.

Ilgen said the shop was “covered with soot from one end to the other” and the second floor was “really heavily hit.”

But when Power employees arrived at the scene at about 6:30 a.m. that day, they immediately started figuring out how to continue on with the work at hand.

Within two hours, the shop offices were shifted into the corporate office’s conference room. By the end of the day, the shop’s power was restored and some of the office space had been cleaned by the next morning.

The crew moved into rebuild shop, which was not affected by the fire, and they were back working within two hours, Ilgen said. The wash rack was up and running within three days.

“We really didn’t miss a beat,” he said. “Our main concern was to minimize the impact to our customers and continue our operations as normally as possible.”

Since then, they have moved into an 80-by-100 ft. tent that was erected on a concrete slab and geared with a temporary power supply. The only thing that’s missing, Ilgen said, are the overhead cranes. Instead, the technicians rely on a rough terrain crane or use the cranes on the road technician trucks.

The tent has two 16-ft. doors and the roof is 24 ft. tall. “It’s as big as our shop is,” Ilgen said.

He said he’s proud of the Power staff for “how adaptive we became in such a short amount of time.”

The aforementioned overhead cranes were removed from the shop and rehabbed. The building was deemed structurally still able to hold the loads from the cranes.

Ilgen said they’ll be working out of the tent until mid-July. CEG