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Published March 16, 2012, 10:01 PM

Pactiv employees eager to get back to work after plant fire

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - Longtime employees of the Pactiv Plant, no longer have to worry about being without work after Wednesday's destructive fire. Some are already back on the job. This as the company expects to - surprisingly - restart operations within two weeks.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

Longtime employees of the Pactiv Plant, no longer have to worry about being without work after Wednesday's destructive fire. Some are already back on the job. This as the company expects to - surprisingly - restart operations within two weeks.

Company leaders met with workers this morning to give them peace of mind. They are dispelling rumors and ensuring employees they will continue to be paid.

Sharon Friesen – Pactiv Employee: “Well, I'm glad that I'm still working.”

After days of the unknown, Sharon Friesen is getting news she wanted to hear. Her job at Pactiv is secure.

Sharon Friesen: “You want to be able to go back to work so you just keep right on cleaning it up so you can go back to work.”

The Fargo woman usually works the production line, but now is left restoring soggy offices and taking inventory. All in parts of the dirty building away from the most damaged part of the plant. The shock still hasn't hit her.

Sharon Friesen: “I'm sure that once I go in where the lines.”

Fred Mooney: “The warehouse has been compromised but our equipment inside the rest of the building is in good shape.”

While damage estimates or the cause aren't yet known, company leaders credit the quick response of firefighters for keeping damage down.

Fred Mooney: “The heart of the operation that makes the product is in really good shape.”

We aren't allowed inside the warehouse, but our cameras capture the cleanup. Crews continue to haul out burned debris. Fifteen of the 140 employees are helping the process to get the plant safely back in business.

Fred Mooney: “The work might be different than they're used to doing for a little while but we're going to make sure that we take care of them, make sure they get a paycheck for their families, and especially important that we take care of our customers as well.”

The company is checking with engineers on plans to rebuild the warehouse, but it's safe to say all employees are relieved and glad to hang onto their jobs, here.

Sharon Friesen: “I was sure that being here six years that they'd ask us if we wanted to go to another plant if nothing else and I am very, very glad that we'll be able to go with this one shortly.”

Workers on two shifts will return tomorrow, during the day. They'll cleanup, test machinery and wrap or pack materials from other plants.

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