By Michael R. Moser
Officials at TAP Publishing on Fourth St. worked feverishly to return to their business to normal after an electrical fire caused hundreds of thousands in damage to the building and multitude of complex computer systems, and interrupted the daily operation of the publishing company.
Company employees evacuated the building and no one was injured in the incident that occurred Tuesday around 2:38 p.m., according to Crossville Fire Chief Mike Turner. One firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion symptoms, Turner said.
Both fire stations and all available engines plus 27 firefighters responded to the call and remained on the scene for about two and half hours.
Cause of the fire is being listed as electrical, Turner said. The fire started when a main electrical line servicing the building started arcing, causing explosions on the roof of a second story office building in the large complex. The wires shorting out ignited a nearby air conditioning unit which was destroyed by the fire.
The intensity of the arcing electrical lines burned through metal on the roof and did penetrate an office area, damaging computers and the network system that operates TAP's vital presence on the Internet. Another room also suffered damage, Turner said.
Station 1 is directly across the street from TAP and firefighters were on the scene within a minute, but were hampered because the damaged electrical wires were still charged. Once Volunteer Energy Cooperative arrived on the scene and cut service to the business, firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire, Turner said.
Most employees were sent home for the day but were back on the job Wednesday, working under emergency power, as contractors and work crews labored to repair the damage.
"We have had people working 24 hours," TAP Partner Steve Stone said. "We lost our Internet presence for about six hours, but we have everything back up now.
By Wednesday afternoon, a roofing crew was arriving on the scene to rebuild the damaged section of the roof. Stone said three publications by Wednesday were already in Kentucky, or on the way, to meet publication deadlines while work continues to restore TAP's elaborate and sophisticated publishing system.
"I think (Crossville Fire Chief) Mike Turner and the fire department did a phenomenal and professional job. I am so proud to know those men and women," Stone said. "Keith Garrison with EMA, the ambulance service, Volunteer Energy, were all here and they all made us feel safe."
Trade-A-Plane is the flagship publication for TAP Publishing Company and is celebrating its 75th year in business. The company was founded by Cosby Harrison in 1937, and since that time as expanded publications to include Rock & Dirt, Tradequip and a Spanish-language publication serving construction and mining companies in Latin America.
The most recent addition to the family of publishing and Internet services offered by TAP Publishing is WeatherTAP. Subscribers include E-911 center and emergency departments across the country.
"Thank goodness we didn't have any bad weather during the six hours our Internet presence was down," Stone said.
The company is not expected to miss any publication dates because of the fire.