Flextec Escapes Fire's Wrath
Colorado Springs-based Flextec survived the Waldo Canyon Fire, but not without several anxious days of watching and waiting.November 2012 By Tom Polischuk
Late June of this year was a scary time to have a business (or a home) near Colorado Springs, Colo. That's because a wildfire of epic proportions, known as the Waldo Canyon Fire, was thundering through the area, consuming whatever was in its path. Before it was under control, two people died and 346 homes were destroyed in the community of Mountain Shadows alone. Although the popular tourist attraction Garden of the Gods was spared, another popular destination, the Flying W Ranch, burned to the ground.
Rocky Rahija, owner, president, and CEO of Flextec Corp., counts his lucky blessings because both his home and his printing business were spared from the fire's wrath.
With its roots stemming back to 1980 in flexographic consulting, Flextec was founded in 1995 as a label printing company. The company provides primary and secondary labels, security holograms, blister packs, flexible packaging, and extended text labels. It operates from a 36,000 sq.-ft. facility bought in 2003, with four presses (flexo and digital) and four finishing operations. The company employs 23 people and primarily runs a one-shift operation. Rahija has more than 45 years in the printing industry.
The fire started about noon on Saturday June 23 on an area of about 100 to 150 acres not far from Rahija's home. His community was forced to evacuate shortly afterwards. He and his wife had barely enough time to grab their cat, dog, and jewelry before escaping from the area to take up residence with their daughter who lived a safe distance away.
With cooperating weather conditions, "fire crews were able to keep the fire at bay for a couple days," says Rahija. But on Tuesday afternoon, June 26—driven by winds from the west at 65 mph—flames crested the ridge near the Flextec facility and sped about half a mile down the side of the hill in under 30 minutes.