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San Marcos

A fire that swept through a San Marcos manufacturing plant gave 60 workers a gloomy Yule-season present: They are out of work.

Becky Byrom, daughter of William Byrom, who owns Byrom Manufacturing in the 1000 block of Rancheros Drive, said the family-run precision machine shop lost all of its equipment--worth about $2 million.

“We have about 60 employees, and they are out of work now,” she said. “It’s terrible, especially now at Christmas.”

The fire, which engulfed the 20,000 square-foot plant, was started when a ceiling fan caught fire and ignited a piece of the ceiling, which then ignited a plating tank filled with flammable liquid, Byrom said.

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San Marcos fire authorities said 17 fire units responded to the two-alarm fire, along with units from neighboring communities.

The fire destroyed 90% of the building and $200,000 worth of parts that had been packaged and were ready to be shipped to one of the company’s major clients, Hewlett Packard.

The parts were components used in machines that do computerized graphics, blueprints and diagrams, Byrom said.

“Our employees are a big concern to us because this is a family business,” Byrom said. “We have a shell of a building . . . but we can’t make anything.”

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