Local News

Buyout after fire at Henderson plant leaves dozens unemployed

Posted June 28

— A Henderson company that burned to the ground on Memorial Day announced that a Rhode Island company has purchased the name and will not be rebuilding the facility on Wakefield Avenue.

A fire erupted in a warehouse portion of the ETC of Henderson Inc. plant on May 29. It took firefighters hours to control the raging blaze, which produced a cloud of smoke that could be seen up to 30 miles away.

Initially, the company was hopeful that employees would be able to keep their jobs.

Since the blaze, a company bought the ETC name and announced it will not replace the facility, where janitorial supplies were made.

"Something as sudden as a fire, that's not something that's planned," said Monica Satterwhite, who works for a job matching agency. "It wasn't related to business or to the economy, something you could see coming."

Satterwhite works at NC Works and is now helping the dozens of former ETC employees try to find new jobs - a tough task, she said, in a country with higher-than-average unemployment.

"We're looking for warehouse-type positions, but we are also looking to see what type of skill improvements we can provide," she said. "If someone is interested in going to school, or learning a new skill, we're definitely interested in helping to do that."

Chamber of Commerce President John Barnes said the closure is not indicative of any wider problem with the job market in the city, or the county.

"While we are very sad for ETC and their employees, Henderson is still doing well and we will continue to do well," Barnes said.

Satterwhite said there is still hope for people who now are searching for new positions.

"There are options and there are people who are working hard to help them get to a better place," she said.

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