JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. – Multiple fire departments responded Sunday night to the report of a fire on the campus of Wellman Plastics Recycling in Johnsonville.

The fire broke out at a silo on the southeast end of the plant. Johnsonville Fire Chief Kerry Tanner served as the on-scene commander, and departments from Hannah-Salem Friendfield, Williamsburg County and South Lynches Fire also responded.

The fire appeared to be under control by 9:30 p.m.

Chinese-based Shanghai PRET Composites Co. Ltd. announced in December it would purchase Wellman for $70 million.

PRET produces polypropylene and modified ABS, a strong lightweight plastic. Wellman Plastics Recycling LLC produces 100 percent recycled nylon and polypropylene products for the automotive, furniture, electronics and other industries. Wellman then sends out the material to clients that use injection molding to make plastic products. Some automotive clients for both companies include Volkswagen, Ford, General Motors and Toyota.

As of January, Wellman employed 840 full-time people in the 2-million-square-foot Johnsonville facility.

Wellman also produces 100 percent recycled thermoplastic polymer resin. It is headquartered in Johnsonville and has a major sales office in Troy, Michigan. PRET is a large plastic compounding company with four plants in China. It employs about 900 people. Projected sales were more than $350 million in 2014.

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Christopher McKagen is the editor of The Hartsville Messenger, covering Hartsville, Darlington and Darlington County .

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