Early morning November 30, 2015 a fire broke out at Classic Rope, Rattler Rope and Classic Equine manufacturing facility on Highway 51 in Granbury, Texas. The fire spread rapidly despite the hard fought efforts of more than 50 firefighters. The flames burned throughout the day, and the fire was not extinguished until some 12 hours later.
Control of the blaze was complicated by manufacturing materials involved in the burn, including high quantities of nylon, polyester, and other flammables which produced intense heat and resisted normal firefighting practices.
There were no injuries associated with the blaze, but by the evening, the 70,000 square foot location that produced ropes, string, and saddle pads for over 29 years and employed over 80 employees was reduced to smoldering rubble. The cause of the fire which appeared to have started at or near a maintenance building is unknown.
News of the fire spread quickly across the country throughout the day, sending shock waves to both retailers and consumers. The facility was the epicenter for rope production, turning out 1,800 to 2,000 Classic and Rattler Ropes daily, which accounts for at least 50% of the market for team ropers and calf ropers around the world.
The facility housed all the fiber production used in the manufacturing of ropes and piggin’ strings as well as served as the production nucleus for all Classic Equine saddle pad production, as well as other Classic Equine products.
Equibrands’s CEO, Ken Bray weighed in on the destruction and what it means.
“First, we are the most thankful that no one was injured and no one was in the building at the time the fire started. Second, the outpouring and demonstrated support from the entire western industry has been overwhelming. Local businesses and friends have come forward to offer aid in everything from clean-up services, breakfast for employees, to warehouse space and office equipment. We are grateful to be a part of such a supportive community.”
Bray explained that an action plan for rebuilding was in place even before the flames had died out. Thanks to a solid crises management plan, the continued care and financial support for employees will be in place throughout the rebuilding process.
“At Equibrand, we are like family, and taking care of our people is very important to us. The focus now, is on taking care of our dealers and our customers. The building and its contents can be replaced, but what’s most important is getting things back up and running as soon as possible to service those retailers that depend on our products and to keep our customers supplied with the products they depend on.”
Classic Equine saddle pad production is anticipated to be up and running by the end of January. Plans are being finalized, custom tools are being fabricated, and our skilled team with unwavering leadership are laying the ground work for a new state of the art rope facility. We are rebuilding to be better and stronger than ever.
“Our products are the trade tools of the sport, from the weekend roper to our professional team of ambassadors that make a living with them, we want them to know this team is working tirelessly to regroup, restore, and rebuild in an effort to meet their product demands as soon as possible.”