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Sherri Richards, Published October 27 2010

Wisconsin tornado could affect Fargo Case-New Holland plant

A tornado that touched down Tuesday in Racine, Wis., could potentially affect the Case New Holland plant in Fargo.

The tornado damaged the CNH manufacturing facility in Racine that makes components such as axles for the large tractors manufactured in Fargo, said Duane Nelson, director of global communications for Case IH Agriculture.

“As long as the facility is shut down here that could shut down production in Fargo,” Nelson said, stressing “could.” He said much depends on the production schedule and inventory in Fargo, as well as how long the Racine facility will be shut down. It isn’t clear yet how long that will be, he said.

The tornado early Tuesday damaged the roof in the combine transmission area, cafeteria and parts operations, as well as garage doors and access doors, a media release said. The sprinkler system caused significant damage to internal ceilings and blowing debris damaged parked cars. Two people were injured, neither critically.

Sheryl Uthemann, 49, was working first shift at the Case New Holland plant when the storm blew through about 8 a.m. and started to lift the roof.

“It was just a regular workday and all of a sudden that noise just came and (co-workers) said ‘Run! Run! Run!’ You didn’t have time to think,” she said. “I looked up where the noise was coming from and saw pieces of the roof sucked up. I’ve never been more scared, ever.”

Kelly Hrajnoha, spokeswoman for Case New Holland, said it was too premature to say how the damage in Racine will affect Fargo employees.

Erik Olson, Fargo plant manager, said Tuesday afternoon that Fargo employees did not need to worry about the plant closing down.


The Associated Press contributed to this report

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556



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