While investigators try and figure out exactly what caused an explosion at a Lakeland juice processing plant, the company’s employees are out of work.
Officials at the Whitlock Packaging Corporation say they employ 125 people and since the explosion those employees haven’t been able to work.
The company said they have to repair the building where the explosion happened and see when they can begin working again.
In the meantime they’re communicating with employees and plan to bring them back to work soon to help with repairs.
“We have simply maintained communication with our employees in letting them know that we’re doing everything possible to very quickly access the situation and bottom line get us back up and running,” said the Whitlock Packaging Corporation Human Resources Director, Bart Lewis.
Lewis said with their employees being out of work not only affects their business, it’s hurting the community.
“It has kind of a domino effect if you will for the community and again that’s one of the many motivations that we have to get back up and running as quickly as possible,” Lewis said.
Kenneth Elliot said he’s one of the lucky ones who was able to come to work today. But he said even though most of the employees aren’t working they’re still feeling lucky today.
“I think first and foremost everybody is very thankful. That’s gonna be the mood that nobody got hurt, that everybody is okay and that there still are jobs,” said Elliot. “There’s gonna be some worry but all in all I do believe that once everything comes back up and running, people will get back to work and it will be just a bump in the road.”
Lewis said they’re still trying to figure out if employees will be paid for their time off and when the plant will be able to open back up. When asked how long it would take for the plant to back up and running he said more like days, not weeks.