Think of fire and you may imagine a cozy fireplace scene or roasting marshmallows or burning leaves. If you are a finisher, however, the image is often one of catastrophe: melting tanks, twisted steel and charred building remains. Products Finishing has reported on several plating shop fires. Those that come to mind immediately include General Super Plating in 1979, which Jerry Poll reported on in the September 1981 issue; and Nutmeg Chrome, which I reported on in the September 1990 issue.
Recently, I returned from lunch and retrieved a message left by B.J. Mason of Mid-Atlantic Finishing, one of the Lombard Companies. He simply said that there had been a major incident and would I give him a call.
When I called his cell phone, Mr. Mason told me that Mid-Atlantic Finishing had experienced a major fire. All the plating lines were gone. All that was left standing at 4656 Addison Road, Capitol Heights, MD was the block building. The good news was that there were no injuries and all chemicals were contained.
The fire raged on a Thursday, by the following Monday Mid-Atlantic had a temporary line up and running at its sister company, Alexandria Metal Finishing. However, this isn't unusual. The finishing industry, although competitive, has always been there to help its fellow finishers.
After Nutmeg Chrome's fire, competitors such as Allied Platers and Har-Conn Chrome, opened their doors to Nutmeg employees. Nutmeg employees worked nights and weekends processing their customers' work.
As General Super Plating recovered from its fire, A Brite Plating Co., Cleveland, OH, helped by offering plating space in its shop. Crown City Plating in El Monte, California helped by taking over a molding and plating job while the company recovered.
In what other competitive industries would you find cooperation and good will such as this? I would guess not many. Of course, I love to brag on the finishing industry, but I think I have a legitimate case. We are proactive, we care about the environment and we are willing to help each other. Sure, we have our disagreements, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, most of us are there devoting time, opening our doors and checkbooks to help this industry thrive.
What do you think? Do you see this cooperative effort within our industry? Have you seen this type of cooperation within other industries? Share your thoughts with us and other readers.