Kautex manager says new roof, alarm saved lives during tornado
The director of operations for Kautex Corporation says “it’s a miracle” no one was killed when the F2 tornado ripped through the plant last week.
Steve Phillips told CTV News that all four people who sustained minor injuries in last Wednesday’s tornado were employees at Kautex.
Phillips believes two factors helped save lives. One is a new roof at the plant, which was installed only one month ago.
The other is the fact that when the lights flickered at the plant that night, the alarms went off and the machines shut down, so workers walked to the cafeteria, which wasn’t part of the path of the twister.
Phillips notes it could have been worse, since 30-pound tanks flew about 50 feet across the plant.
UNIFOR Local 195 President Gerry Farnham said, “You don’t realize how powerful Mother Nature can be until you see that building.”
The plant that manufactures fuel tanks for automakers has one production line back in operation.
Phillips credits Kautex parent company Textron for helping to get people back to work so quickly. He notes roofers are working three shifts – morning, noon and night – to get a new roof on the building.
Farnham says he is "flabbergasted they were able to put this together as quickly as they did.”
He also tells CTV News that Kautex employees approached him the day after the tornado to offer any help in clearing away the debris from the storm.
Kautex is also paying its 200 employees for all of last week and this week, whether they work or not.
Farnham adds everyone is working together to ensure the company can meet the needs of its customers.
Many officials from different automakers have been touring the Kautex plant, thanking the Windsor workforce for getting the factory back on its feet.
Still, the FCA jeep plant in Belvidere, Illinois remains down as it awaits parts from Kautex as the Windsor plant rebuilds.