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Fire shuts down one-third of Bridgestone/Firestone plant

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One of the three mixing areas in Bridgestone/Firestone's Aiken County, S.C., plant caught on fire Saturday evening.

According to a Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC spokesman, there were no injuries. There also was no smoke damage; overall, the plant suffered minimal damage.

Two-thirds of the plant is still in operation, he said, adding it isn't known how soon the mixing area in the company's state-of-the-art plant will be up and running again.

The company believes the fire started during the mixing of natural and synthetic rubber when some of the rubber got under the conveyer belt and ignited.

The Aiken County plant, which began producing passenger and light truck tires in 1999, has the capacity to produce 24,000 tires a day, according to Modern Tire Dealer's 2004 Facts Issue.

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