About 200 workers at the new Kia manufacturing facility in West Point were moved out of the assembly plant Tuesday afternoon after a fire safety issue was discovered during a building inspection of the energy center.
“We had a group going through a punch list and any time we find a safety issue we react,” said Randy Jackson, director of Human Resources and Administration for Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia.
West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson V said it was part of a routine inspection of the facility, which is still under construction though parts of it are occupied.
“We contacted the Kia folks and they jumped on it right away — as they always do,” Ferguson said.
The issue was discovered by Fire Chief Mitt Smith.
The assembly workers were moved into the on-site cafeteria about 1:30 p.m. and stayed out of the affected area for about two hours, Jackson said. They continued to train while they were in the cafeteria, which has a capacity of 850 people.
The plant is gearing up for production, which is scheduled to begin in November. Currently, there are more than 1,000 West Point workers employed by the South Korean auto manufacturer.
Workers are training to build the Sorento CUV.
Kia does not have its final certificate of occupancy for the plant yet, Jackson said. But the building is in use under a temporary certificate of occupancy.