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Atkore Fire Investigation Update

Cause of fire at plastics facility classified as “undetermined”.
September 06, 2023

On August 6, 2023, Albuquerque Fire Rescue responded to a fire at Atkore United Poly Systems. A thorough and lengthy investigation followed to determine the origin and cause of the fire. Investigators confirmed that the fire started at the southwest corner of the facility near a vehicle in an unauthorized area and large inventory of plastic products. Albuquerque Fire Investigators have officially classified the cause of the fire as “undetermined”, pending further workable information. The details and findings of the investigation are attached.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue and Bernalillo County Fire Department responded to the fire at Atkore United Poly Systems around 2:30pm on August 6, 2023 . Wind conditions caused the fire to spread, and smoke plume from the burning plastic and other materials could be seen throughout the metro. Multiple agencies responded to assist, including and Bernalillo County Fire Department, Kirtland Airforce Base Fire Department, Corrales Fire, and Sandoval County Fire. No injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported. The fire took approximately 5 hours to bring under control, damaging the south end of the structure, multiple forklifts, and other heavy equipment used to process the plastic into a finished product.

AFR immediately began their investigation on August 6, interviewing the facility manager and gathering information. The investigation continued to subsequent days, in which investigators processed the scene, took photos, interviewed staff, and examined the single vehicle involved. Staff interviews confirmed they saw the fire and tried to extinguish but it was out of their capabilities. Investigators discovered the car was parked in an unauthorized location and near where employees took smoke breaks. There was no admission from staff or evidence that a cigarette was thrown and started the fire. Although this is one of the hypotheses developed by fire investigators, it could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

There are no criminal findings or evidence that the fire was intentionally started. Fire investigators considered the cause to be determined as accidental, however, due to the lack of physical evidence, video footage, and interview statements, this could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, fire investigators have officially classified the cause of the fire as undetermined, pending further workable information.