Fire causes damage to tire distribution center

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A 1.1 million-square-foot warehouse housing tires made by Michelin North America Inc. was damaged first by a tornado and then by a fire Thursday evening.

The warehouse, located in Laurens County, S.C., and operated by TNT Logistics North America Inc., was initially damaged when a tornado tore part of the roof off the building. A fire subsequently broke out, reportedly damaging at least one-quarter of the distribution center.

The extent of the damage to the Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal brand passenger and truck tires in inventory has yet to be determined, according to a Michelin spokesperson.

In an official statement, Michelin said the following:

"In order to ensure continued delivery of product to customers, Michelin and TNT are focused on three important areas. First is to conduct an assessment of the tires that were affected.

"Second is to proactively communicate with customers to make sure they know how their supply will be assured.

"Third is to re-source tires across Michelin’s robust distribution network that spans the globe in order to assure continued delivery of product."

Michelin signed a six-year, multi-million dollar agreement with TNT Logistics in July 2002. The agreement gave TNT the responsibility of operating Michelin's network of approximately seven million square feet of distribution centers in 18 locations in the United States and Canada.

Lexington Corporate Properties Trust, a real estate investment trust, owns the distribution center through a joint venture, and leases the property to TNT Logistics.

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