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Arising from the Ashes
Atlas Rebuilds after "Largest Fire on Record" for Local Fire Department

Atlas EPS, a specialist in the development and manufacturing of expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation, recently selected Robinson Construction to perform as the design-build general contractor on a site restoration and rebuild project at their location in Perryville, Missouri.


On the evening of Thursday, December 8, 2016, a fire broke out at the Atlas EPS facility in Perryville, Missouri. There were three (3) employees inside the building at the time the fire began, but thankfully, they all made it out safely. It is believed the fire started in the breakroom and spread from one building to another, consuming a total of six (6) buildings on the Atlas campus and taking nearly 21 hours to extinguish, making this the largest fire on record in the Perryville Fire Department’s history. An estimated 20 different fire departments from the surrounding counties responded throughout the night.

Cleanup efforts began almost immediately and on January 24, 2017, the company announced their intention to rebuild the facility in Perryville. The fire caused in excess of $10 million dollars’ worth of damage; insurance will help cover nearly 90 percent of the total reconstruction costs. In a February 2017 press release by the company, Ken Farrish, President of Atlas Roofing Corporation, stated “If there is a silver lining, it is that most importantly no one was harmed in the event, and from the ashes will arise what promises to be the most efficient EPS facility in the U.S.” A ground-breaking ceremony was held on April 12, 2017 to kick off the rebuild portion of the project.


The fire destroyed all but three (3) buildings; one sustained partial damage and two were left untouched. To keep the plant operational during the rebuild process, Robinson began fire damage demolition and site restoration work within one (1) week following the fire. Atlas was able to resume 50 percent production in the partially damaged building within one (1) month of beginning cleanup efforts and 100 percent production within 45 days. This portion of the work included:

  • 10,000 sq ft of smoke and soot cleanup and eradication
  • Existing fiberglass blanket insulation removal from the walls and ceiling and installation of new vinyl backed fiberglass blanket insulation
  • New metal liner panel on the walls and ceiling
  • Saw dust fired steam boiler repair and commissioning
  • Wet fire sprinkler system repairs and commissioning
  • Extensive electrical service restoration and repairs to the building, existing manufacturing equipment, and machinery
  • Building structural frame repairs
  • New overhead doors and man doors
  • Sidewall and end wall metal panel replacement
  • 10,000 sq ft of existing roof removal and new metal roof panel roof-over system installation
  • 80,000 sq ft of burned building debris loaded and hauled to landfill
  • 289,000 lbs of scrap recovery and recycling
  • Removal of approximately 80,000 sq ft of concrete building slabs and foundations
  • Regrading of approximately three (3) acres of disturbed surface area

Kevin Thole with SERVPRO, an emergency restoration services contractor, complimented Robinson’s work on the site saying, “We work with major contractors all over the U.S. and this was one of the easiest set-ups we have had. All the lighting and electricity was done and we had virtually zero obstructions for our lifts.”

Bill Calla, Atlas EPS Plant Manager, was also pleased with Robinson’s work on the project, “Job well done from start to finish! This is a great group to work with!”


The rebuild portion of the project began in April 2017 and is expected to be complete in December 2017. Robinson’s work includes design and construction of one (1) 93,220 sq ft pre-engineered metal building to replace the six (6) buildings that the fire destroyed. In addition to manufacturing space, this new facility will also house a shipping office, employee breakroom, and maintenance shop. In an effort to bring the entire campus up to current building code, Atlas made the decision to replace the two (2) buildings that were unharmed in the fire, with one (1) new 13,200 sq ft pre-engineered metal building.

In addition to the building work, Robinson was also contracted to install process piping systems and equipment including:

  • Steam and Condensate
  • Compressed Air
  • Soft Water
  • Vacuum Lines
  • Natural Gas
  • Twenty-one (21) different manufacturing equipment systems
Project at a Glance
  • OWNER/CUSTOMER: Atlas EPS, a division of Atlas Roofing Corporation
  • DESIGN-BUILD GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Robinson Construction Company
  • ENGINEERING: Robinson Construction Company, Strickland Engineering (MEP & Process Piping), Quadrant Design (Architectural)
  • MAJOR SUBCONTRACTORS: Reinhold Electric, Ahern Fire Protection, Dutch Enterprises, Fronabarger Concreters, Clifton Excavating


This post first appeared in our quarterly publication, Robinson Report (Volume 15, Issue 4, 2017). View the full issue here.

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