No injuries were reported in the fire which was quickly contained to the ventilation system, said Booneville Fire Chief Jerry Wallace.
“The fire was under control at all times,” he said.
A spark from a grinder used to remove gaskets from water pumps got into the air cleaning system and touched off a fire in a series of filters, explained the chief. Several of the filters caught fire, but the blaze was contained entirely within the apparatus. Firefighters used water and fire extinguishers to quench the fire and remove the filters.
The burning material filled the plant with smoke, forcing the evacuation of workers for several hours as large fans were used to clear the smoke from the building.
Wallace praised the response of Caterpillar employees to the incident and said he's thankful it was contained and was not a more serious event.