April 26th, 2010On April 24th, at around 11 AM, a powerful EF-3 tornado hit the Complex Chemical Co., Inc. plant, head on. At the time, 12 employees were at the plant. We are grateful that none of them were injured seriously, but three did sustain minor injuries. Due to regulations, and various authorities, no one was allowed into the plant, for the next 36 hours, and then only a few individuals were allowed to go in, and only allowed in certain areas.
Three days after the event, the plant was open to Complex personnel for assessment, and subsequent planning. The damage was quite extensive. All warehouses, and office areas were pretty much totally destroyed. Seven tanks had been toppled, three railcars laid on their sides, with several others leaning, and in danger of turning over. The electrical infra structure was 100% destroyed, and the piping system was severely damaged. Piles, and piles of twisted metal and other debris were everywhere. Spilled materials were several inches deep in the containment areas, driveway, and former building areas. Many other items, to numerous to mention were lost.
In the middle of all this, however, there was good news. The spill prevention system worked like it was designed. No materials left the confines of the plant. The eleven processing units, survived with only peripheral damage. The laboratory and heaters all survived with very little damage. Our central server that contained all our business records survived, as well as many crucial files. We now have embarked on the daunting task of rebuilding. As a Complex “family” we face this task together with confidence and a true spirit of determination. We are confident that the God we trust, who loves us unconditionally, will sustain us through these difficult times. He has not failed to do so in the nearly 37 years that Complex has existed, and we have no reason to expect anything less now. We will be back stronger and better than before, and more importantly, sooner than anyone can imagine.
Photo Gallery - Click on photos for larger photo
April 26, 2010 - 2 Days After Tornado
Two weeks into the recovery, Complex Chemical Co., Inc. is showing signs of life. Trailers have been set up to serve as temporary offices and over 20x40” containers have been brought in to use to store raw materials and products that once were stored in the now destroyed warehouses.
Complex employees are working sun up to sun down, seven days a week. They are working as teams to insure safety, and to accomplish the many tasks that lie ahead.
The majority of all spilled materials have been pumped into temporary tanks for ultimate disposal. Contractors have been hired, and equipment rented to enable the debris removal process, on a prioritized basis to proceed as rapidly as possible. A plan of recovery has been set, and is in motion.
Everyone is working very hard, and exhibiting what makes Complex a great company, and will make it even greater.
May 10th, 2010
May 3rd, 2010 Two weeks after Tornado
We are now in week three of the recovery process. As can be seen, there has been tremendous progress in the area of clean up, and debris removal. Many, many containers of scrap metal and other debris have been hauled away. Large areas of concrete that was once covered with debris, are now open, and visible. The main driveways have been cleared so truck shipments can be made from inventory that was on hand prior to the storm.
Generators are being brought in, so units on a prioritized basis can be brought back to operating status. Temporary piping is being done, so safe transfers can start being accomplished. Sight glasses have been repaired on the many tanks, so inventories can be verified, and lost quantities confirmed.
Arrangements have been made at two facilities to produce products for our customers, to try to insure that they are not adversely affected by this storm. Within our plant, some simple blending has even begun.
Finally, we are happy to report that communication methods are back in place. Telephone, FAX, internet services are now operable, so that we can now be in touch with our valuable friends, suppliers, and customers. The spirit of determination is still strong, and this company is on its way back. May 17th, 2010
As can be seen, more progress has been made on debris removal. This will continue for several months.
In with a plan initiated on May 7th, generators are being brought in and a contractor hired to aide in connecting those generators to selected areas or process units. The areas and units have been prioritized in terms of need to serve customers.During the week of May 3rd, the laboratory was powered and by May 7th, routine analysis could be performed.
During the week of May 10th, certain pumps were wired so shipments could be made from existing inventories. The truck scales had been activated in a new scale building. Simple blends like brake fluid were being made. The main heater that supplies heat to all process areas was re-started successfully. A good week. June 1st, 2010
Visibly more clean up is evident, much has been accomplished during the last two weeks. All but one of the six lube oil additive production units are operating and making on-spec product. The high temperature reactor is also operating and making on-spec product. Orders are being placed by our customers.
The rail spur has been repaired so railcars can be moved, unloaded, loaded a shipped. Work continues to create drawings for approval for re-building warehouses, piping systems and the electrical infra-structure. June 14th, 2010
This photo shows the most dramatic change to date. At this point in time all eleven processing units are operating successfully and making product. All were brought up in the time frame set on 5/07/2010. Complex in these areas is at 90% of capacity. This is a major, major credit to our core management team and all the employees. Limitations exist in the area of drum filling but progress is being made there. The only outsourcing of production now is the area of packaging and drumming. Permanent re-construction has commenced in areas where it can be done, both in the electrical and piping areas.
Orders continue to come in from our faithful, loyal customers who have stood with us through the past seven weeks. We are very grateful to all of you. We are of course most grateful to God for his guidance and protection through this time. June 28, 2010
Debris removal continues and will be going on for quite some time. Most of our employee’s are involved in production and helping with the reconstruction process. We are busy!
Plans are being submitted for approval and subsequent permitting for warehouse reconstruction. Communications continue to improve as we are more settled into the five temporary offices. A lot of time is being spent accumulating information for insurance purposes. That is a story for another day. Thank your to everyone for their confidence in us, their prayers and well wishes. Our God is truly an awesome, loving, merciful God. All honor in our recovery process as in all things are his.
July 11, 2010
Our progress is not as visible as pictures over the past couple of months have revealed. However, much work is being done. All units are operating. Our very loyal and patient customers are continuing to place more and more orders at our facility. This is truly inspiring to me and more importantly continues to solidify our future. Building permits are in the works, re-construction in electrical, piping and buildings is underway as allowed by the permitting authorities.
The “can do” re-build spirit is still strong and evident in our employees. I thank God for them all, and thank Him for all those who have come into my life to enrich it.
September 11, 2010
Progress at this point is less visible from the outside. This is due to repairs being refocused on internal needs such as electrical and piping. Electricity has been restored to most sections of the plant and almost all generators are gone since they are no longer needed. One change that can be seen from the air is several small, temporary buildings that have been put up. These temporary structures are in place to help Complex continue meeting the needs of our customers. They will eventually be removed and replaced by permanent warehousing.
It is worth noting that these photos come almost four months to the day after the tornado hit. Now, as in the beginning, the men and women of Complex continue to tackle each day’s challenges with heart, soul and determination that should stand as an example to all. After four months of almost continuous work it is clear that the focus of the Complex family is not just a temporary state but a permanent attitude. October 7, 2010
Work at Complex is now shifting away from clean up and repair to new construction and rebuilding. These two photos highlight the new buildings that will house the main electrical breakers. The buildings are of heavy construction and elevated off the ground to provide maximum protection for the equipment inside. October 7, 2010
The red steel being raised here will be used to form a large enclosure that will include both the distillation and oil blending units. This impressive structure will include the truck loading area as well to provide additional protection from the weather for products. November 15, 2010
These photos mark a large milestone for Complex Chemicals and its employees. The first new, permanent structure can be clearly seen now. This building covers the oil blending and distillation areas and includes loading and unloading facilities for oil blending. Operations in these areas are now protected from the weather in regards to rain, wind, etc.
The next permanent building in line will be a large warehouse that will cover the concrete slap adjacent to the new structure. This warehouse will be used to store raw materials and provide a spot for our filling lines. What a difference seven months has made. January 7, 2011
Small steps have given way to larger ones as these photos clearly show. The new warehouse will provide nearly 50,000 square feet of operation and storage space. An added bonus of the warehouse is it has allowed us to remove many of the storage containers we have been using. Another improvement is additional concrete in several key “traffic” areas. These extra slabs will make all loading and unloading operations run smother and faster, increasing turn around time. The rebuilding of the electrical system continues and many feet of new “cable trays” have been built through out the plant. By the large open topped tank the dirt work for the new nitrogen plant can be seen as well.
As Winston Churchill might have said Complex may not be at the beginning of the end of reconstruction but we are certainly past the end of the beginning. Thanks again to our customers for there kind words and continued support and to God above and the employees that are making this happen. March 10, 2011
Complex continues to move ahead in rebuilding. The new nitrogen plant is now in place. Many more containers have been removed and there contents moved to the new warehouse. In the back area a new roof is over the secondary oil loading and unloading area and several doors are now in place on the main warehouse as it nears completion. General clean up continues and new concrete is still being laid. Some of the new electrical has been completed and is servicing certain areas of the plant. Thanks again to all our team members that have made this happen. April 29, 2011
These aerial photos are 1 year and five days after the tornado roared through so many peoples’ lives, starting just a little way west of Complex and traveling almost 175 miles into Mississippi leaving a terrible path of death and destruction. I have so much to be grateful for. No Complex employees were seriously injured. None of our faithful customers gave up on us. I have the hardest working, toughest, most resilient, creative employees anyone could ever ask for. Our business has actually expanded in the year since the storm. Jan 14th, 2012
Nearly 20 months after the tornado hit, the final pages of this chapter in Complex Chemicals history are ready to be written. The last step in the original reconstruction plan, the new office building has gone up and can be easily seen. The hard working, dedicated men and women of the Complex family can now see and say with absolute confidence that with the grace of God their company has survived, overcome and conquered its greatest challenge to date. It has been a long journey and the last purpose driven steps are now being taken.
New projects are taking priority as reconstruction draws down to a close. The new office building, new maintenance shop, concrete parking lot and many other additions can be noted in contrast to the last photos. Two new reactors have been stood up and are being readied for new projects. Once again we thank not just are employees but are customers for their support during the past two years. July 1st, 2013
A little over three years since the tornado CCCI continues to expand. The most notable addition is the building that covers R-2 & R-3 across from the large open topped storm water tank and the area around it. New pipe racks can also be seen in and around the building. The very observant will notice additional containment walls and slabs of concrete have been poured for future tank storage around the R-2, R-3 area as well. June 6th, 2015
As of 01/06/15 much has been added to CCCI, most notable is the 500,000 gallon water tank. Even now Complex has ongoing expansion projects underway. ”