Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 28, 2012

Fire breaks out on Grissom hangar

Flames likely caused by welder; extent of damage currently unknown.

By Carson Gerber
Kokomo Tribune

Peru — A fire broke out Tuesday evening in an airplane hangar currently undergoing renovations to accommodate Texas-based Dean Baldwin LP Painting, which plans to start up operations in January painting and servicing airplanes and to hire 200 workers.

According to officials, the blaze started at around 5:10 p.m. on the roof. The flames were likely caused by a contracted worker welding, said Jim Tidd, executive director of the Miami County Economic Development Authority.

He said an investigation continues into the cause of the flames, and the extent of the damage is currently unknown.

“We’re still in investigative mode, but we believe it looked a lot worse than it probably was,” he said.

Tidd said Dean Baldwin expressed concern about the fire, but noted the flames shouldn’t delay renovations much, if at all.

“The company is anxious to get in here to start working and hiring people and painting airplanes,” he said. “We are continuing on, and construction is moving ahead as scheduled on the rest of the hangar.”

The hangar is owned and being renovated by the Miami County Economic Development Authority.

Dean Baldwin has signed a 30-year lease agreement to use the hangar, which will service and paint airplanes like the large Boeing 747.