BROOKSVILLE — No one was seriously injured, but 135 employees at Micro Matic, a manufacturer of beer-dispensing equipment, were evacuated after a small fire Thursday morning.
One employee was taken to the hospital as a precaution, authorities said.
The business is located at 2386 Simon Court, just east of the Suncoast Parkway near Brooksville Tampa Bay Regional Airport.
Assistant Hernando County Fire Chief Kevin Carroll said that smoke was coming from the back of the building when firefighters answered the 11:09 a.m. call.
A HAZMAT team was dispatched to the location, but Carroll said that Micro Matic’s safety systems kept potentially hazardous materials contained.
Micro Matic uses the hazardous materials as part of its manufacturing process. The company makes beer kegs and taps for commercial and home use, along with other beverage dispensing products, according to its website.
“They apply a product to (the materials) to keep it from degrading,” Carroll said. “The residual product is in a liquid gas form that goes into an ‘evaporator.’ It leaves a heavy metal that they recycle.”
Carroll said that Micro Matic workers quickly turned off equipment and that no hazardous materials were released into the environment.
“A containment tank caught everything,” Carroll said. “Their equipment worked like it’s supposed to.”
Carroll said that the fire was under control in 15 minutes or less.
Micro Matic President Torben Toftegaard said that workers were calm and orderly as they exited the 75,000-square-foot facility, adding that the company conducts regular safety meetings.
Micro Matic has been in Brooksville about five years, Toftegaard said.
An international company formed in 1953, Toftegaard said that Micro Matic has locations in Denmark, Sweden, England, Germany, Australia, China, Japan and South America, among other countries.
A $3 million, 40,000-square-foot warehouse near the Simon Court location is expected to open in October 2015, Toftegaard said.
Hernando County commissioners recently agreed to give the company $180,000 in incentives for that expansion.
Other Micro Matic locations in the U.S. are in Illinois and Pennsylvania.
Toftegaard characterized employees’ reaction to Thursday morning’s excitement as “unbelievable.”
When firefighters arrived, employees were gathered in a far corner of the company’s parking lot.
“Everyone was accounted for and safe,” Carroll said. “They were in the location they were supposed to be in.”
Carroll said that it would take a couple of hours to ventilate the building before work could resume. A few workers were treated at the scene for issues related to smoke inhalation and heat.