Coca Cola warehouse evacuated after possible storm damage
Published 3:48 pm Monday, March 27, 2023
WEST POINT — At approximately 9 a.m. Monday morning, the Coca-Cola warehouse was evacuated following some damage that was done to a wall during an intense rainstorm.
Cedarious Thomas, the public information officer for the West Point Police Department, told The Valley Times-News that all warehouse employees were evacuated safely to a nearby BP station.
The plant’s office area remained open. At approximately 10:30 a.m. on Monday, an office spokesperson told The VT-N that a damage assessment team was on the way. Later in the day, Andy Britton, the public affairs and communications officer for Coca-Cola United, told The VT-N that the damage assessment team will determine if the wall was damaged by the storm or from some other reason.
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“Even with the damage to the wall, we will remain open on a modified schedule,” he said. “Our drivers and sales people are out in the community today and will continue to be in the coming days.”
West Point has had a continuous connection to Coca-Cola since 1904. For many years this world famous soft drink was bottled here. The bottling for the local area is now done by a family-owned business in Birmingham. The bottled drinks are bought to the big warehouse in West Point for storage. Trucks then take Coca-Cola products to stores in West Point and a wide area in east central Alabama.
“We go to Smiths Station, Opelika-Auburn, Roanoke, Alexander City and all points in between,” Britton said.
Coca-Cola was introduced to Troup County by Geore S. Cobb and his brother-in-law, Columbus Roberts. They had territories in LaGrange and West Point. Cobb is credited with inventing the first coin operated vending machines for Coca-Cola. In the early 1900s, he opened a bottling plant in downtown West Point.
Long Cane Creek, which flows near the Coca-Cola warehouse, was well out of its banks for most of the day on Monday. High water in the creek caused the closure of Gabbettville Road on the north side of the Kia plant. This caused some people heading to or leaving the plant to opt for alternate routes.