Hot embers ignited a small fire at a local industrial manufacturing plant early Wednesday.

Enersys, located on the Eastern Bypass, was evacuated while 19 city firefighters gathered to extinguish the flames, said Richmond City Fire Chief Gerald Tatum.

“It wasn’t a large fire, but there was a lot of smoke,” Tatum said. “Workers at the plant did leave the building once the fire started, but any time there’s a fire, employees are to be evacuated.”

The fire apparently started when embers from work being completed by nearby maintenance workers fell close to a box of employee clothing.

“The fire started in a box that stored uniforms,” Tatum said. “Clothing and booties that are used at the plant.”

Tatum said employees at Enersys responded well to the fire.

“They did a good job,” Tatum said. “They tried to put it out with fire extinguishers and the sprinklers were activated. Then they called us.”

No one was injured in the blaze, but the factory did incur some mechanical and financial loss.

“There was some equipment nearby that was damaged,” Tatum said. “The damage is estimated at around $10,000.”

Enersys, according to its company Web site, is a manufacturing plant that specializes in “stored energy solutions for industrial applications.” The site says Enersys is the largest industrial battery manufacturer in the world, operating manufacturing and assembly facilities worldwide for customers in over 100 countries.

The company was established in Richmond in 1976.

When asked about the fire, company officials declined to comment.

Heather Harris can be reached at or by phone at 624-6694 or 893-2341.

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