Storm Shuts Down OKC Factory Employing Visually Impaired

Tuesday, May 2nd 2017, 5:55 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

NewView, a facility that employs as many as 80 blind and visually impaired workers, is closed indefinitely after sustaining damage from Saturday’s storm.

Wind from the storm ripped off the roof of the building, causing water to pour in.

Workers at the facility make everything from fire hoses for the forestry service to aircraft wheel chocks.  

But now they are all without jobs.

“We’re totally shut down and shut down indefinitely,” said CEO Lauren Branch.

After Saturday's storms, most of the building is no longer safe.

“We’ve got significant damage on the 4th floor to the 3rd floor to the 2nd floor to the 1st floor.”

Branch said they had to call all those workers and tell them not to come into work.

“They’re concerned about the facility, but they’re really concerned about their jobs and their paychecks,” said Branch. “It’s important.”

Crews still need to dry out the former Lone Star Brewing company building, before repair work can begin. Branch said the company is making provisions to

pay employees but don’t know what will happen beyond that.

“We’re not making product, we’re not shipping product, we’re not receiving materials and so our customers are put on hold now too.”

No time frame has been set for workers to return.

The company is still waiting for an insurance adjuster to access damage to the building.