About 300 employees at a Beaulieu of America plant in Dalton, Ga., were evacuated Tuesday afternoon after a fire broke out in a ventilation system near the roof, company officials and local press reports confirmed. The May 13 fire at a Memofil Plant on Fifth Ave. in Dalton was brought under control by the Dalton Fire Department, which remained on the scene through late afternoon.

"This was very unfortunate but could have been disastrous,” said Beaulieu president Ralph Boe, who arrived at the scene with other top company officials who were in Dalton for a scheduled board meeting. “We are thankful no one was injured during the fire or the evacuation.” He added that safety procedures in place at the plant “helped in avoiding a catastrophe.” Company founder Carl Bouckaert reportedly met with employees outside, shaking hands with many.

Company officials said the larger section of the plant remained intact and that production was resumed Tuesday evening with “alternate arrangements” used for product produced in the section hit by the blaze

Assistant chief Bruce Satterfield told the Dalton Daily Citizen that the fire swept through air ducts in the plant, making the situation difficult for firefighters. “There was a lot of fire in the ductwork and I think that’s really what kept them over there so long,” he said. “Just putting out the little, small fires in the duct and so forth. It’s manpower intensive in finding openings or creating your own openings.”