The fire that destroyed a carpet manufacturing factory in Picton’s commercial area on Friday night was caused by a mechanical fault.
After erupting about 7pm, the fire completely destroyed the Australian production plant of international carpet manufacturer Interface on Henry St in Picton’s industrial and commercial area.
An emergency services spokesman yesterday said the blaze was started by a mechanical malfunction and was not being treated as suspicious.
‘‘The carpets go through a couple of heaters where some glue gets put on the back of the carpet,’’ he said.
‘‘The carpet got caught in the machinery and the heaters made the carpet catch alight.’’
There have been reports that 180 jobs will be lost due to the fire.
In a statement from its Atlanta headquarters, Interface said the Picton factory’s ‘‘carpet production line, primarily comprised of tufting and backing machinery, has sustained substantial damage and will be inoperable for an undetermined period of time.’’
The company statement said other nearby Interface factories responsible for yarn preparation and housing finished materials were unaffected by the fire.
Interface did not say whether it planned to rebuild the factory but said it would ‘‘ramp up’’ manufacturing in Thailand and China to meet customer demand normally serviced from Picton.
About 50 workers were in the factory when the fire started but were evacuated, along with workers from surrounding plants.
No injuries were reported.
Witnesses said they heard loud explosions and saw several large fireballs rising into the air during the fire, which took 35 firefighters from NSW Fire and Rescue and the Rural Fire Service two hours to extinguish.