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by Torie McCloy
(September 11) A lightning bolt that struck an internal transformer at Precision Coil Inc. halted the aluminum manufacturing plant's operations for a few days.
Workers are to return back to regular shifts today after a no-pay break, said Chief Operating Officer Jim Smith.
The lightning hit the plant at about 6:35 p.m. on Monday. The plant was closed for the Labor Day holiday and only one security guard was on site when the lightning struck. The night shift had yet to report to work.
Smith said electricity is the lifeline to the plant. The transformer destroyed by the lightning controlled the internal electric supply to the mill. Without the mill, most of the 140 employees couldn't work.
Maintenance crews have worked nearly nonstop to get operations back in order.
Office personnel returned to work Wednesday using a gas-powered generator to run the phone system.
The rest of the workforce was told to stay home without pay for about two shifts each, Smith said. While some of the non-union employees opted to use vacation days, others did go without pay, he said.
Smith said the average amount of time missed was about 12 to 14 hours for each employee. Workers that reported Tuesday night stayed for about half the shift. About 25 percent of the workforce reported to work on Thursday.
"We have partial production back today," Smith said. "We'll have 100 percent by Friday."
Electricity wasn't turned back on in the plant until late Wednesday.
Precision Coil Inc., located off U.S. Rt. 50, operates as a cold mill for coil aluminum.
The coil is brought to the plant weighing about 12,000 pounds and standing five feet high.