Rexburg's Ferguson Laboratories will rebuild its diet supplement facility after an explosion and fire destroyed the structure last Monday.
"We plan to be back into production as soon as possible," said Jim Liljenquist, vice president of corporate communications for the creator of the successful Diet Center franchises.The 57 employees working at the lab were told the day after the fire their workplace would be rebuilt and they would remain on the payroll in the interim.
An explosion rocked the 22,000-square-foot building Monday afternoon after an industrial oven apparently malfunctioned. The employees were on break and no injuries were reported.
A thick plume of potentially toxic smoke rose above Rexburg, prompting authorities to evacuate residents for several blocks around the plant. Health officials were concerned the thousands of pounds of plastic polyvinyl chloride burning in the blaze could endanger nearby neighborhoods.
"Most of the toxic chemicals burned off in the first two or three hours," said Richard Horne, environmental specialist for the District 7 Health Department. "The fire acted like an incinerator. Most of the chemicals would be found in the dark, black-colored smoke at the first."
About $3 million dollars in damage occurred from the fire.
Liljenquist said design work has begun on the new lab and hopefully a physical plant will be constructed within 90 days.