Sunday, February 9, 2014

Early Morning Fire At Winchester's East Alton Plant

There was a fire in the early hours of the morning at Winchester's East Alton, Illinois ammunition plant. Fortunately, it seems that only a maintenance shed was destroyed and the fire did not spread to other areas of the plant.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
An early-morning blaze and propane explosion at an ammunitions factory in East Alton was contained to a maintenance shed and caused no injuries, according to police.

A motorist spotted fire in a maintenance shop at the Winchester Ammunition plant, which is a division of Olin Corp., and called 911 about 3:15 a.m., according to East Alton Fire Chief Randy Nelson.
Reports vary as to when the fire was first spotted but it was finally extinguished around 7:30 this morning. The blaze caused propane cylinders to explode and steam lines to rupture from the intense heat.

More on the fire from St. Louis station KMOV:

You can see the morning after pictures in this report from Fox 2 St. Louis:

Winchester has been in the process of moving its center-fire ammunition production from the East Alton plant to its much newer plant in Oxford, Mississippi. Winchester started this move in mid-2010. Rimfire ammunition was moved to Oxford earlier.

 Olin Corporation, the parent of Winchester, has not made any official statement on the fire that I can see on their website. Given that it happened on a Sunday morning, this is not too surprising.


  1. That would be ALL we need, another plant down... sigh

    1. From what I can tell in the pictures, the fire took place on the extreme periphery of the plant. With the transfer to center-fire cartridges to Oxford, MS, I'm guessing that it is mostly shotgun shells being loaded in the East Alton plant. If anyone knows for sure, please correct me.

      Rimfire was switched a while back to Mississippi.

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